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News 9th annual rankings show Bethel education is worth it

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As releases its ninth annual rankings of the country’s best colleges and universities, Bethel College remains the only private liberal-arts college in Kansas to be listed.

Only four Kansas schools made the 2016'17 analysis of the 660 top (10 percent of the total) U.S. colleges and universities.

The other three are regents’ universities. Bethel ranks ahead of Wichita State University (the University of Kansas and Kansas State University are also listed) in return on investment (ROI).

What marks’s ranking methodology is its attempt to answer the question: “Is higher education worth it?” For those institutions that make the list, the answer is “a definitive yes,” writes Caroline Howard in this year’s publication.

“This list of 660 schools distinguishes itself from competitors by our belief in ‘output’ over ‘input,’” Howard continues, “meaning we’re not interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?

“College has become one of the biggest financial decisions students and their families make. They deserve all the information they can get on the questions that directly concern them: Are current undergrads satisfied? Is it likely I’ll graduate on time or incur a ton of student debt? Will I get a good job and be a leader in my chosen profession?”

In determining its rankings, places the most weight (32.5 percent) on “post-graduate success.”

In partnership with Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), uses data from the U.S. Department of Education’s “College Scorecard” and from, which indicate salaries earned after graduation, and a curated “America’s Leaders” list (winners of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, major fellowships and top U.S. cultural and arts awards).

“Student Debt” and “Student Satisfaction” (which looks at freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rates and at student evaluations on the RateMyProfessors website) each account for 25 percent in the rankings.

“Academic Success” (10 percent) and “Graduation Rate” (7.5 percent) round out the list of criteria.

“On behalf of Bethel College, I am particularly proud of this achievement, especially given Forbes’ emphasis on institutional outputs over inputs,” said Bethel President Perry D. White. “Ultimately, the success of any institution of higher education is and should be judged on how well it prepares students to succeed in their pursuit of a ‘life well-lived.’”

To see the names of all 660 colleges and universities, go to

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About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.