College of Pharmacy receives top marks for affordability
As rising costs of higher education have become a national debate, good news has come from Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. The college was ranked second in the nation for most affordable pharmacy degrees. College Affordability Guide gave the school a score of 97, only 0.2 below the first ranked college.
A cost/benefit analysis compared the strengths and weaknesses of what is achieved with the degree. This was designed to identify schools affordable for average students and those from low-income families. To be included in the rankings, the university must have a nonprofit status, 500 or more students and accept Advanced Placement or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps credit. In addition, 20 percent of the students must be Pell Grant recipients.
Degree Prospects also looks at equitable usage of financial aid funds, as in more aid for families earning less. Furthermore, the university must have at least half of its students graduating or transferring to another school within six years, and half with student debts must be actively paying it back three years upon graduation.
The College of Pharmacy’s 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio was cited as a factor for the high ranking. Another contributing item was the Doctor of Pharmacy program enabling students to gain pharmacy experience as soon as the second year of studies. Combining the aforementioned factors created a small group of colleges, those which are ensuring that students are getting their money’s worth.
Since 2006, the college has offered a professional doctorate of pharmacy, or PharmD, to answer the call of a severe shortage of pharmacists—which was projected to reach 157,000 nationwide by 2020, as forecasted by Pharmacy Manpower Project Inc. It is among nine Texas schools providing this degree.
The college continually pursued innovative and economical ways to ensure for students a strong didactic education, a broad and applied pharmacy experience early in the curriculum, and availability of mentoring across many aspects of professional life. The college’s cost is met with its quality education. By 2012, the college ranked among the top 50 pharmacy programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Our mission was to develop a high-quality, low-cost program, bar none. In just six years, the quality of our program allowed us to reach the top 50 programs in the country,” said Indra K. Reddy, PhD, founding dean and professor. “This was largely due to the success of our students, and the hard work of our faculty in obtaining extramural funding and publication of research and scholarly activities. However, our focus was not on rankings but rather on the mission. We understand our students’ need for affordability—we strive to offer a quality program with a high return on investment.”
The college remains steadfast in its mission to provide a learning-intensive, stimulating pharmacy education—combined with research and service—that prepares its students to be competent, caring and ethical health care professionals.