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“This magnificent long read … can’t be ignored,” wrote blogger Natasha Joseph of TIME’s Nov. 23 cover story about the aftermath of the June massacre at a historic church in the South Carolina city. “Powerful. Potent. Poignant. Perfect.” The 27-page piece, by David Von Drehle with Jay Newton-Small and Maya Rhodan, drew similar commentary on Twitter, where Annegrethe Rasmussen advised, “If you only read one (long) story today: What it takes to forgive a killer.”

Many were grateful for the story’s intimate focus on the survivors and their loved ones. “You finally get it. Honor the victims and their families, not the shooter,” wrote Elizabeth Shauver of New Castle, Ind. Maggie Fisher of West Bloomfield, Mich., agreed: “Especially touching were details about Rev. Thompson and his lovely wife, Myra. I felt I could have known the victims as neighbors.” And Steven Moffic, a psychiatrist in Milwaukee, said the story was an important and rare “comprehensive follow-up” to tragedy, adding that forgiveness, when possible, may help in preventing posttraumatic stress disorder.

Some, however, were left with questions. The Rev. Robert Close Jr. of Purcellville, Va., noted that there is still work to be done identifying the people and institutions that taught the killer to turn to such violence. “I wept and prayed reading [the story],” he wrote.


As this week’s TIME story on student loans makes clear, value is a key factor in choosing the right college. That’s where Money’s College Planner comes in, ranking more than 700 schools to help you pick. Find it at best-colleges.time.com.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

BEST SCHOOL FOR YOUR MONEY Stanford University Stanford, Calif. It earned high marks for its graduation rate, affordability, alumni earnings and education quality BEST PUBLIC COLLEGE Maine Maritime Academy Castine, Maine Early-career earnings average $67,600 COLLEGE THAT ADDS THE MOST VALUE Robert Morris University Illinois Chicago A student tends to do far better than expected based on academic and economic backgrounds BEST COLLEGE YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET INTO Texas A&M University College Station, Texas A high acceptance rate comes with a quality education and a 79% graduation rate BEST COLLEGE FOR MERIT AID St. John’s University Collegeville, Minn. Aid for strong students–given without regard for a family’s finances–is a key part of this school’s appeal

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