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Shepherd named a top 30 most affordable school for outdoor enthusiasts

ISSUED: 9 January 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is listed by the website Affordable Schools as one of the country’s top 30 most affordable schools for outdoor enthusiasts.

Affordable Schools created the list by first determining which colleges have the lowest tuition and fee costs according various sources, including the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News and World Report,, and the colleges own web sites. In addition, Affordable Colleges looked at how close the colleges are to places where outdoor activities occur and at the outdoor-focused clubs offered on campus.

The ranking points to Shepherd’s out-of-state tuition and fees of $16,628 annually for 2014-15. That’s $6,330 below what the College Board says is the average published out-of-state cost of $22,958 for a public four-year institution. Affordable Schools says the money Shepherd students save on their education can be spent on activities at nearby national parks like Harpers Ferry and the C&O Canal; whitewater rafting, kayaking or fishing on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers; and participating in things like golf and horseback riding.

“Anytime you get recognized in a top list is a cause for celebration, and here it’s for both our value and our offerings. It shows our prospective students we are the complete package,” said Dr. Shari Payne, vice president for enrollment management. “I think it’s reflective of not only the value we have as an institution at such a good tuition rate but that we have so much to offer in our community.”

Payne pointed out while Shepherd offers many nearby outdoor recreational activities, it’s also not far from Washington, D.C.

“We have all the amenities that a major metropolitan city would offer as well,” she said. “So we get the best of both worlds here, and we’re thrilled that this organization has recognized us for that.”

Payne believes being ranked as one of the top affordable schools for outdoor enthusiasts will make Shepherd even more attractive to prospective students who are shopping for a college.

“We know that the value system of students coming into college these days has shifted to environmentally sustainable activities, so things like bike trails and kayaking on the rivers are really attractive hobbies to this population,” Payne said.

While the Affordable College ranking cites affordability based on Shepherd’s out-of-state tuition and fees, Payne pointed out the university also offers affordable rates for in-state students as well. Full-time West Virginia residents are paying $6,570 annually for tuition and fees this year. The College Board website says the average published tuition and fee price for in-state students enrolled full time at public four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. is $9,139

“You really can’t beat the value of a West Virginia state education,” Payne said.

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