February 7, 2023
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Letter: Thomas Aquinas students graduate with less debt than their peers do


Dear Editor:

I just read with interest your cover story on student debt in the tri-county region. But I did want to bring your attention to a problem with it.

California Lutheran University and Westmont College are described at the end of the article as though they are the only two “private non-profit” institutions in the region, when in reality there is at least one other, namely Thomas Aquinas College — with a better story on student debt, to boot. That’s unfortunate, as our average student debt is notably less than theirs, and certainly below the national average: $16,000.

In fact, as an institution, we have always been committed to limiting student debt, turning instead to our generous benefactors for donations to our annual financial aid fund, which this past year topped $4 million and which helped more than 70 percent of students with demonstrated need. It really is a great story, especially because while our students and our financial support come from across the country, many of our donors are residents of the tri-county region — and it’s they who make it possible for us to cap our student debt at its low level.

Perhaps more important, though, is that Thomas Aquinas College is recognized and given outstanding rankings by the country’s most prestigious college guides:

1. U.S. News & World Report: In the Top 25 for least debt among graduates for all national liberal arts colleges.

2. The Princeton Review: Financial Aid Rating of 99 out of a possible 99.

3. Kiplinger’s: Ranked No. 9 in the country for lowest average debt at graduation.

— Anne S. Forsyth
Director of College Relations
Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula