Best in the bluegrass

Story by Michelle Hawks, Contributing writer

For the third consecutive year, Washington Monthly named Murray State as having the “Best Bang for the Buck.”

According to the publication’s website, the methodology of its 2016 report took several factors into account, including the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and first-generation students, as well as loan repayment rank, graduation rates and net price of attendance.

According to the report, the purpose of the list is to rank colleges and universities by “the extent to which they charge students who aren’t rich a reasonable price for quality education that will advance them in their careers.”

Murray State ranks 24th among Southern colleges and universities and is the top public university in Kentucky.

Over the past year, Murray State approved a new structure for scholarships and changed the scholarship application. However, Murray State’s faculty realize that a valuable, high-quality education would not be possible without their dedication.

“The faculty’s willingness to contribute to student life on campus, mentor undergraduate and graduate researchers, and play an active role in the campus community all contribute to enhancing the quality of education here,” said Danielle Nielsen, assistant professor of English.  

Nielsen said without faculty who work to ensure students are able to apply their knowledge inside and outside of the classroom, the current emphasis on “Bringing Learning to Life” would not be possible.

Students also recognize the value provided by Murray State, acknowledging that it is a large reason they chose to attend Murray State.  

“The quality of the classes is exceptional, and the cost is cheaper than most,” said Emilia Kueker, freshman from Ellis Grove, Illinois.

Parker Upchurch, junior from Harrisburg, Illinois, said that while the cost was a factor, there were other benefits that drew her to Murray State, such as its small size, which allows students to have one-on-one time with professors.

“Murray State is excellent at preparing students for their futures. As a biology student, we are constantly given opportunities to advance our understanding of the sciences and improve our resumes or graduate school applications,” said Upchurch.

Murray State is consistently named one of the “Great Colleges to Work For” by The Chronicle for Higher Education and was ranked as the 28th Best Regional University among all public and private universities in the South by the U.S. News & World Report.