In the Department of Education’s recently released College Scorecards, Knox ranks higher than the national averages in average annual cost, graduation rate and salary after attending. It also performs above average in retention from first to second year, and has more students paying back their student debt three years after leaving the school.
The scorecard largely focuses on financial statistics. The average annual cost to attend Knox is $21,001, compared to the national average of $16,190. Broken down by family income, average cost at Knox ranges from $16,621 for families making under $30,000, to $27,618 for families making over $110,001 a year.
Among the schools in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Knox falls just below the average cost of $22,712. Out of the total of 1,376 students, 29 percent come from families with income less than $40,000 and received a Pell Grant towards their college costs.
At 80 percent, Knox’s graduation rate is above the ACM average of 78 percent. The Scorecard’s given rate of 88 percent for first- to second-year retention falls just one percent above the average of ACM schools. ACM schools generally have above average retention rates, with the national average at 68 percent.
While the most recent Scorecard update came out a month ago, Scorecards are produced continually and can vary in statistics by when they were updated.
The Knox College website lists total fees for the 2016-17 school year as $52,615, which is over twice the actual average cost. On the topic, freshman Gabbi Aviles said, “Private [schools] can offer a lot more than public [schools].”
Both Aviles and freshman Kevin De Castro said that Knox offered them the most financial aid of the colleges they applied to.
For Knox students, the Scorecard lists the average student debt as $27,000. Both Aviles and De Castro though thought it would be higher. Aviles said she thought the national average would be $40,000 to $80,000, with Knox generally somewhere in the range.
De Castro believed the national average would be between $40,000 to $50,000. In regards to how he thought Knox’s average total cost would compare with the national average, he said “I would say it was lower.”
In comparison with ACM schools, Knox’s average student debt falls near the upper end of the spectrum. Among ACM schools, Grinnell notably has an average debt under half of Knox’s, at $10,877, but most range from $20,000 to $27,000.
Alongside the higher than average cost, Knox also has higher than average earnings after graduation. Fifty-five percent of Knox’s former students earn more on average than those who ended their education with high school. At 10 years after leaving Knox, the average salary is $41,700, which is $8,300 higher than the national average for college graduates.
De Castro acknowledged that paying back his debt would not be easy. “I guess I consider it more motivation to work hard,” he said, “but I don’t plan to have a problem with it. … It’s just all an investment.”
Both Aviles and De Castro said they believed that their student debt would be around what they thought was average. However, as both their guessed debt averages exceeded the Department of Education’s given number, they are in truth both expecting more than the average debt. Yet all the same, they see Knox as worth the price.