Three of state's schools find themselves in Newsweek ranks

Newsweek released its annual college rankings for 2012, and three Connecticut schools - Sacred Heart University, Yale University and Connecticut College - made the lists.

Connecticut College landed as the 10th most beautiful school. The ranking factored in the average attractiveness of studetns - male and female - as well as the campus architecture and the average comfort index - a measure of humidity and temperature - according to data compiled by Sperling's Best Places.

Sacred Heart, a Catholic university in Fairfield, with campuses in Griswold and Lisbon, was tops on the least affordable school list while Yale was the 14th most affordable.

These rankings were based on four factors: debt, total cost, financial aid and future earnings of graduates. Although tuition is nearly $8,000 less at Sacred Heart ($50,500) than at Yale ($58,250), the magazine reported that 99 percent graduate from Sacred Heart with an average debt of $40,865, whereas just 28 percent graduate from Yale with debt, $9,254 on average.

Yale also was seventh on the most rigorous list, based on percentage of accepted applications, degree of selectivity, student workload score and faculty ratio.

The rankings were designed to answer questions that incoming freshmen students have on their minds when selecting the school they want to attend.

The methodologies for these rankings are "both practical and existential," according to Newsweek.

t.mccarthy@theday.com

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