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Bethel in top five of national college ranking

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College vaulted to the top of a national ranking, sitting at No. 4 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Baccalaureate Colleges 2012-13.”

Washington Monthly groups institutions into four areas as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, including baccalaureate colleges, which according to Carnegie comprise “schools that focus on undergraduate education but offer fewer than half of their degrees in the liberal arts.”

Washington Monthly rankings are based on “contribution to the public good” in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students); research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs); and service (encouraging students to give something back to their community and country).

Washington Monthly contrasts its annual rankings with the longer-running U.S. News & World Report rankings, whose key measures include, among others, peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving – what Washington Monthly calls “fame, exclusivity and money.”

Bethel appeared in the publication’s rankings for the first time last year, though in the “Liberal Arts Colleges” category, at No. 110 out of 249. This year Bethel was fourth out of 352 baccalaureate colleges, behind Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University and Tuskegee (Ala.) University.

Regionally, the next closest institutions in the “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” list were College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo., No. 7, and Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, No. 19.

Next closest within Bethel’s immediate peer group was Tabor College, Hillsboro, at No. 51. Tabor was also second after Bethel for all Kansas colleges and universities in all areas in the Washington Monthly rankings.

The only other Mennonite Church USA college in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” was Bluffton (Ohio) University, No. 174. Goshen (Ind.) College and Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., appear in the “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” rankings, at No. 146 and No. 246, respectively.

“We are certainly honored by such recognition and humbled by these rankings that are based upon the achievements of our people, our students and graduates,” said Bethel President Perry D. White. “It is nice to be part of a conversation that focuses on the success of matriculates to an institution of higher education, rather than simply the profile of the students recruited.”

See the complete “2012 Baccalaureate Colleges” list at www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2012/baccalaureate_rank.php.

Bethel College is also the only Kansas private college listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com rankings of top colleges and universities in the United States.

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