New Saint Andrews College has been included in yet another list of “best” institutions. This time it is numbered among BestSchools.org‘s new list of The 25 Best Colleges for Homeschool Graduates. According to Dr. James A. Barham, the site’s general editor, BestSchools is “an independent organization with no ties to any educational institution.”

The site’s comments about NSA are mostly accurate and not just puffery:

14. If You Want a Classical Christian Education: New Saint Andrews College (Moscow, ID)

Founded in 1994 by theologian Douglas Wilson(i), New Saint Andrews College is a young member of an elite group of schools dedicated to classical Christian education. NSA has come a long way in a short time, by offering a bargain-priced Classical and Great Books education within the Reformed theological tradition.

NSA offers a unique, single integrative program for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, eschewing the typical divisions into distinct “majors” and “minors.” The result is a truly liberal arts education on the Classical Greek model. It does diversify at the graduate level, offering Master’s degrees in Theology and Letters and Classical Christian Studies. Students intent on graduate school, or who prefer holistic rather than vocational training, can suit their tastes at NSA.

NSA has only TRACS accreditation(ii), thus undercutting some of the academic prestige otherwise commanded by their stark Classical curriculum. The school is tiny, with only 155 students(iii), and a single building as its campus. The tuition is also small, at $8,500(iv), with no on-campus housing.

Despite its underwhelming campus, youth, and narrow range, the school was named among the top 50 conservative schools by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and was on the Super Scholar top-10 list of “Best Colleges for Homeschoolers.”

Corrections and Clarifications to the BestSchool’s Statement:

(i) The College was established by the elders of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, who continue to serve as the Trustors of the College Trust. Doug Wilson was one of more than a dozen Christ Church elders who “founded” the college in the early 1990s. See NSA’s history on its website.

(ii) TRACS, the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation, the same agencies that certify all regional and specialized accrediting bodies in the USA. This comment about TRACS accreditation reveals an unwarranted prejudice on the part of BestSchools about the supposed, but unsubstantiated superiority of regional accreditation over national accreditation that neither the Department of Ed nor CHEA recognize.  

(iii) Total enrollment (headcount) in fall 2011 was 182 students. Full- and part-time enrollment was 161. The college is, by design, a limited enrollment institution. It admits between 50 and 60 new full-time freshmen each year to its undergraduate programs. Graduate admissions to the M.A. program targets about 10 new graduate students each fall. The Classical Christian Students graduate program has a rolling admissions process and can take up to about 15 new students per annual cycle. For more enrollment figures and admissions details, see NSA’s UCAN report. (Note: total institutional enrollment figures may vary depending on how different organizations and government agencies account for part-time student enrollment in their totals).

(iv) Undergraduate tuition for fall 2012-13 is $10,750. Graduate program tuition is $450 per graduate credit hour (i.e., $900 per 2-credit course). For more details, see the NSA financial information on its website .

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