What are the best colleges and universities in Delaware if you reward schools for making the best use of their limited resources? Academic Stewardship asks how effectively schools manage their financial and human resources to gain the influence that makes them academically excellent. Schools that are exemplary in Academic Stewardship are doing everything in their power to help students and faculty achieve their full potential.
Colleges and universities in Delaware deserve to be recognized when they do more with less. It’s impressive when a large wealthy school can spend money lavishly on expensive buildings and programs. But it’s even more impressive when a small school with limited means is able to train and inspire students that the larger wealthier schools tend to ignore.
The American Association of Colleges and Universities reported in late 2021 that almost 75 percent of higher-education professionals at US colleges and universities felt financial constraints prevented their schools from effectively attracting students. Distracted by the size and amenities of larger schools, prospective students tended especially to be overawed by the big research universities.
Delaware’s smaller colleges, especially its liberal arts colleges, need effective ways of communicating their value to a world that celebrates “bigger is better” and “you need the best.” Unfortunately, most college ranking companies, such as U.S. News & World Report, define “best” in a way that devalues schools with smaller budgets and fewer students even when these schools do remarkable work in advancing their students’ education. By and large, college rankings penalize schools that serve underserved populations.
Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell, who for years now has criticized conventional college rankings for misrepresenting what’s good and valuable in education, we decided to construct a new ranking metric that highlights those schools that do more with less. That metric—called the Academic Stewardship metric—takes away both the size and the wealth advantage of schools, and focuses instead on how well schools use the resources available to them to advance the education of their students.
As a metric, Academic Stewardship is defined by a precise mathematical formula, which can be found in our Academic Stewardship white paper. Measuring the Academic Stewardship of Delaware’s colleges requires measuring two forms of stewardship: 1) Stewardship of financial resources (using the money they have responsibility without waste) and 2) Stewardship of human resources (doing their best to help students, faculty, and administration to flourish). Together, these two types of stewardship form what we call Academic Stewardship. If you want to learn more about the factors involved in Academic Stewardship, click the more button below.
Academic Stewardship as so defined is connected to keeping tuition and other costs down, but it should not be confused with affordability or frugality. The schools that this metric ranks as exemplary academic stewards tend to be all over the map when it comes to tuition and other costs. At issue is the influence of schools given the financial and human resources they have on hand. If a school is going to charge more for tuition, then that needs to be reflected in the school having proportionately greater influence.
The benefits of attending a school with strong academic stewardship include:
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Delaware State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
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University of Delaware’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Tuition + fees
Wesley College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
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Wilmington University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
A total of six higher learning institutions offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Two public schools and four private schools award degrees in fields such as mathematics, political science, criminal justice, and publishing. Delaware State University and the University of Delaware are both affordable at $8,000 and $14,000, respectively.
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The student population, however, is vastly different with a little over 4,000 attending Delaware State University and just over 22,000 students at the University of Delaware. Wilmington University has the highest student population among private colleges at just under 10,000 - it is also the most affordable at $11,000. Students who attend Delaware College of Art and Design can specialize their associate degree in animation, fine arts, graphic design, illustration, or photography. Residents who earn degrees in the medical or mental health fields have the opportunity to get assistance in paying off their student loans through Delaware’s State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). Applicants must agree to work in underserved areas of Delaware for two or three years and can receive up to $105,000.
Though it is the second smallest state in the nation, Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, earning it the nickname, The First State. With the Delaware River running through it, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and forests throughout, Delaware college students will find beauty everywhere.
Just above the nation’s average for cost of colleges at $12,274, Delaware provides prospective students with unique options in both the private and public spheres. Discover more about Delaware’s colleges and universities.