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Bethel College holds its top-tier ranking in U.S. News & World Report

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. — Bethel College is in a top category of U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of colleges and universities for the ninth year in a row.

The national news weekly publishes new rankings each fall. Bethel is one of only three Kansas colleges, and one of two Mennonite-affiliated colleges, to make the top half of the 2007 Best Comprehensive Colleges-Midwest list, appearing the highest in both cases at #29.

"We celebrate the fact that, within the context of clearly established criteria, Bethel College has again been judged by persons outside the college to be a meritorious educational institution," Interim President John Sheriff said. “Many of the criteria measure areas in which we excel as a means of achieving our central purpose of nurturing students toward academic, professional and moral excellence.”

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 graduation and 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 & World Report that contains the college rankings hits newsstands on Monday, Aug. 21. The information is also available at

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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