Tech school earns national praise
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Hays' two-year institution of higher education has been recognized for cost effectiveness.
North Central Kansas Technical College, with campuses in Hays and Beloit, has been ranked seventh in the country by Bankrate.com, the flagship website of Bankrate Inc.
In addition to its review of financial products, Bankrate ranked two-year community colleges and technical centers throughout the country to see where students can get the best and most affordable start in their college careers.
This marks the fourth national ranking for NCK Tech in the past two years. It was ranked No. 6 by TheBestSchools.org earlier this year, following last year's No. 5 choice by CNN Money and the top 10 percent in the United States recognition by the Aspen Institute.
Bankrate Inc. is the Web's leading collector of financial rate information.
"We're excited we're getting national attention," said Eric Burks, president of NCK Tech whose main office is in Beloit but who also makes regular trips to Hays. "It speaks very highly of the college and is a great tribute to the people who work at the college. The staff, the students, they are the ones that make it happen."
Bankrate ranked more than 900 two-year public colleges using six criteria: graduation rate, student retention rate, student-faculty ratio, in-state tuition, number of students getting financial aid and the average amount of aid.
More than 80 percent of NCK Tech students receive some type of aid.
"When you are spending your money on anything, you want to get a good value," Burks said. "This is a high-valued education we're able to deliver to our students and get them into their careers quickly.
"We're highly valued in industry, too," he added in reference to the school's placement rate of 96 percent last year. "We have more people seeking our graduates than we have graduates."
The Bankrate ranking included 25 schools, three of which were from Kansas. Flint Hills Technical College, Emporia, was ranked fourth and Colby Community College was 10th.
"I think we do a lot of great things in the state," Burks said. "Students are getting a good return on their investments, and (NCK Tech) is one of the best in the nation at that."