Principia made the Yahoo Finance list for the top 10 Best Values in Private Colleges Under 20k. The general consensus among my friends who have been there: what on earth were they thinking?! I’m also curious what criteria they used to select this top 10 list.
Yahoo Finance gives Prin a glowing write up, it sounds ideal, based on Christian Science, but “not affiliated” with the Christian Science Church.
3. Principia College
Location: Elsah, Ill.
Undergraduate enrollment: 542
Total cost: $36,060
Average need-based aid: $23,055
Average net cost: $13,005
Kiplinger’s rank: #55 among liberal-arts colleges
Part of a campus that also includes pre-kindergarten, elementary school and high school, Principia College bases its philosophy on Christian Science tenets but is not affiliated with the Christian Science Church. It awards need-based aid to about half of its students and merit aid — an average of $14,885 — to 26% of students who do not qualify for need-based aid. Principia’s 2,600-acre campus overlooks the Mississippi River; many of its buildings were designed by Bernard Maybeck, a renowned architect of the Arts and Crafts movement.
There are a few issues with this write up.
- Yes, the college campus has a daycare for faculty and staff’s children, but the pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools are about an hour away.
- Yes, it bases its philosophy on Christian Science tenets, which means UNLESS YOU ARE AN ACTIVELY PRACTICING CS YOU ARE NOT WELCOME and it helps if your parents are actively practicing too. Period. End of story. You’re also not welcome if you’re gay. So what if it isn’t affiliated with the Church, the Church isn’t radical enough. Principians are a special elite group.
- To keep the merit-based aid you need to maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA, which is almost impossible even for the most diligent and studious, and even harder if you’re involved in athletics (I might be recalling this incorrectly, if so, I apologize).
- The Maybeck buildings on campus are beautiful, but there are also some built in the 1970s which look like demented Pizza Huts. The campus is incredibly unfriendly for the differently-abled, and the bluff trails are admittedly dangerous with large “do not go beyond this point” signs.
- Then there are the deaths at Principia, the best known/publicized incident was the measles outbreak the 1980s, this is what happens when a little colony of non-immunized people live together. There have been rumors of others, but I have not found a credible, cite-able source (if you know of any & have sources I’d love to hear about them).
I can’t think of any reason for someone to go to Principia College. Although I attended (they offered me a very good financial aid package and the admissions process was super-easy, they accept pretty much any CS with a pulse – it is staying there that is the problem), and made some wonderful friends during my time there, knowing what I know now, I would not encourage anyone else to.