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Bethel moves up a notch, to No. 3, in national ranking

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College President Perry D. White announced in convocation Aug. 26 that Bethel College, appearing for the second year on the Washington Monthly "Best Baccalaureate Colleges" list, had moved up from #4 to #3.

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).

“We designed the Washington Monthly college rankings to embody the American higher education compact at the institutional level,” the publication’s editors write in their introduction to this year’s rankings. “Instead of lauding colleges for closing their doors to all but an elite few, we give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend.

“Universities that bring in research dollars are rewarded by our standards, as are those whose undergraduates go on to earn PhDs. And we recognize institutions that are committed to public service, both in the way they teach and in encouraging students to enter service-focused careers.”

In the 2013 rankings, Bethel was third out of 350 baccalaureate colleges, behind Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University and Tuskegee (Ala.) University.

Regionally, the next closest institutions on the “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” list were Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, No. 12, and Hastings (Neb.) College, No 14.

Next closest within Bethel’s immediate peer group was Tabor College, Hillsboro, No. 97, and Sterling College, No. 98, second and third 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. 31. Goshen (Ind.) College and Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., appear in the “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” rankings, at No. 158 and No. 216, respectively.

See the complete “2013 Baccalaureate Colleges” list at

“We are truly humbled by the accolades Bethel College continues to receive for the tremendous work our people do with and for undergraduate students,” said President White. “Such recognition is a testament to the dedication, professionalism and effectiveness of our faculty and staff as they go about the important work of this institution.”

Bethel College is also the only Kansas private college listed in the 2013-14 rankings of top colleges and universities in the United States.

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