Money magazine ranks Holy Family 4th as a "Value All-Star" school

Holy Family University in Northeast Philly has been named a "Value All-Star" and a "Great School You Can Actually Get Into" by Money.
Holy Family University in Northeast Philly has been named a "Value All-Star" and a "Great School You Can Actually Get Into" by Money. (Handout from Holy Family University)
Posted: August 05, 2014

FRANCIS BITTING had been a Philadelphia kid his whole life. And then along came Holy Family University.

"Prior to Holy Family, I'd only gone to the Jersey Shore," said Bitting, a junior studying business at the Northeast Philadelphia school.

But once at the 60-year-old Catholic university, Bitting traveled to Taos, N.M., and Spokane, Wash., to build homes as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, the "most eye-opening experience" he's ever had, Bitting said.

"If you're going to Holy Family, that first day the door is going to open and they'll never stop opening," he said yesterday.

Money magazine wouldn't disagree. In its August issue, a special report on "Best College Values" ranked Holy Family University in the Top 10 as a "Value All-Star" (No. 4) and "Great Schools You Can Actually Get Into" (No. 6).

The 3,000-student university "prides itself on its working-class roots, and we have been dedicated to the premise that everyone should have access to a college education since we were founded," Holy Family spokeswoman Heather Dotchel said.

Many of the schools listed in the Money report had similar missions.

"I was surprised and delighted to see schools that were not necessarily famous doing what colleges are supposed to do," said Kim Clark, the Money reporter behind the project. "Taking in kids, giving them a chance and graduating them into the middle class."

The "Great Schools" category looks at schools where most students are accepted with a 3.0 to 3.4 grade-point average and had an acceptance rate of 50 percent or more. Holy Family's acceptance rate in 2012-13 was 67, according to the mag.

The "Value All-Star" means a school exceeds expectations based on the profile of its student body, Clark said. The list is compiled based on graduation rate, student-loan-default rate and earnings of graduates in a particular field. Holy Family ranked fourth and, according to Money, its graduates earn $12,200 more than "the average graduate makes in the person's early career," given the makeup of the student body.

(La Salle University ranked eighth on the list, earning $10,300 more.)

Full-time tuition and fees cost $13,755 per semester (not including room and board), according to Holy Family's website. About 95 percent of students get financial aid. Bitting, for example, has three scholarships.

"Our rankings pay no attention to the prestige of the school. We just want to see how you're doing," Clark said. "Given their social background, given their situation, [Holy Family is] doing a good job."

University officials are thrilled with the magazine's rankings. "We do try as a private institution to remain affordable and respond to the needs of the community," said university president Sister Maureen McGarrity, who started July 1.

McGarrity is also enthused because the rankings go nicely with Holy Family's new slogan, "The Value of Family."

"We are really, really pleased," she said.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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