"I had previously visited a campus in South Dakota, but that was too rural for me," Morley said. "My parents and I always really loved Chicago, but some of the downtown campuses I visited seemed concrete and impersonal.
"Benedictine's campus has a warm feeling that I fell in love with right away," she said. "It's a cozy community, but it's close to a large metropolitan area. It was everything I was looking for."
This sense of community and a devotion to academic excellence and athleticism helped Morley, a student-athlete in volleyball, earn the University's first Jim Durham Memorial Scholarship, which is named after the late veteran sportscaster.
Morley is a junior Communication Arts major with a concentration in Sports Communication and also a Dean's List student.
Morley and other Benedictine University students and graduates are recognizing the value of a Benedictine degree as an investment that pays proven dividends.
According to the 2016 PayScale Inc. College Return on Investment (ROI) Report: Best Value Colleges, Benedictine is ranked among the top 10 schools in Illinois and the top 20 percent nationwide for ROI.
PayScale is a provider of on-demand compensation and data software that annually releases an ROI report on colleges and universities. Data was collected from about 1.4 million college-educated workers, and the 20-year ROI on their degrees was based on the current four-year cost of each school.
"We created the College ROI Report to help students and their families understand the long-term implications of their decisions about schools and majors," said Aubrey Bach, PayScale's head of Alumni Analytics. "We hope that with this kind of data, students can make smarter educational choices and avoid crippling debt."
"We know that a Benedictine education is one of the best investments parents can make in their student," said Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D., M.F.A., president of Benedictine. "A liberal arts, values-based Benedictine education prepares them to be successful in any number of careers."
The University also partners with students and their families to find as much financial aid as possible to keep costs and loan debt low. The average student loan debt for Benedictine undergraduates was $21,500 in 2014, compared to the national average of $35,000. According to a 2013 post-graduate survey, the average salary 10 years after attending Benedictine was $51,000 – much higher than the national average of $34,343.
Morley's story is an example of how a Benedictine, values-based, liberal arts education promotes healthy living and a life lived in balance, while helping each student maximize career opportunities and minimize college debt.
Benedictine has received similar accolades in the past touting its overall cost and the salaries earned by its graduates.
According to Affordablecollegesonline.org, Benedictine ranks among the Best Online Colleges in Illinois for 2015 and among the top 15 most affordable Catholic colleges and universities in the country, with the highest starting salaries earned by graduates and among the most affordable colleges in Illinois for online programs in 2014.
The University has also been named one of the best colleges in the Midwest and the nation for cost and quality by Washingtonmonthly.com, and has been ranked as one of "America's Top Colleges" for five consecutive years by Forbes magazine.
The full PayScale report can be found at: payscale.com/college. To read more about Morley's story, go to ben.edu/morley.
For more information about enrolling in Benedictine contact, (630) 829-6300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE Benedictine University