NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best colleges and universities place Bethel College at No. 27 on the Best Regional Colleges-Midwest list.
In the top third of the top tier, Bethel is the highest-ranking of its 10 peer Kansas private colleges that are part of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, and the second-highest Kansas private college listed overall in the Midwest region.
This year, Bethel is tied with its sister institution, Bluffton (Ohio) University. Both are members of Mennonite Education Agency of Mennonite Church USA.
Seven other Kansas private schools (Benedictine College, Atchison; Tabor College, Hillsboro; McPherson College; Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina; Ottawa University; Sterling College; and Bethany College, Lindsborg) also appear on the Best-Midwest list.
U.S. News compared more than 1,600 accredited four-year schools nationwide using a set of up to 16 indicators, with key measures being:
- academic reputation, as assessed by peer institutions;
- graduation and retention rates;
- faculty resources;
- student selectivity;
- financial resources;
- graduation rate performance;
- and alumni giving.
The “Regional Colleges” categories refers to those institutions that focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. The “Midwest Region” covers 12 states – in addition to Kansas, they are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Bethel is also listed in the Washington Monthly annual college guide and on Forbes.com.
In its fifth year on the Washington Monthly list, Bethel is in the Top 5 among “Best Baccalaureate Colleges 2015–16,” at No. 4.
The Washington Monthly rankings measure institutions based on contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (enrolling and graduating students of modest means, at a reasonable price), research and service.
For the eighth straight year, Bethel is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas and one of only four institutions of higher learning in the state to be ranked in Forbes.com’s analysis of top U.S. colleges and universities.
The annual ranking, compiled by Forbes.com and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), rates 650 undergraduate programs out of 6,600 accredited U.S. colleges.
Forbes.com’s “recipe for a top college” includes:
- student satisfaction, which notes positive evaluations for professors and overall campus experience, and high freshman-to-sophomore year retention rates
- low student-to-faculty ratio (in 2014–15, Bethel’s was 10:1);
- financial aid and debt, which looks at above-average financial aid amounts and low percentages of students taking out loans;
- and four-year graduation rates