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Seven straight

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- For the seventh year in a row, Bethel College is in a top category of U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of colleges and universities. The national news weekly publishes new rankings each fall. Bethel is one of only three Kansas colleges to make the top half of the 2005 Best Comprehensive Colleges-Midwest list, appearing the highest at #28.

"It’s an affirmation of the college’s commitment to student experience," said Bethel president E. LaVerne Epp. "It’s certainly a compliment to our faculty, staff and students."

Institutions in the Comprehensive College category focus on undergraduate education and provide a range of degree programs in the liberal arts and in professional fields such as business, education and nursing.

Universities that emphasize research and offer several doctoral programs are ranked separately from liberal arts colleges. Comprehensive colleges are compared against other schools in the same group and region (North, South, Midwest or West).

U.S News staff gathers data from and about each school in areas related to academic excellence, with each indicator assigned a percentage. Assessment by top administrators at peer institutions carries the greatest weight (25%). Other indicators include student retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

The top half of the schools in each regional list of Comprehensive Colleges are ranked numerically, with the remainder placed in "third tier" or "fourth tier," based on overall scores.

The issue of U.S. News and World Report that contains the college rankings hits newsstands on Mon., Aug. 23. The information is also available at .

Founded in 1887 as a Mennonite coeducational liberal arts college, Bethel College in North Newton is affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA. Fall classes for its 500 students begin Aug. 30.

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