NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best colleges and universities, Bethel College has switched categories, to National Liberal Arts Colleges.
It is the only Kansas private college or Mennonite Education Association college to appear on that list, in the second tier (where schools are listed alphabetically rather than by number).
U.S. News compared more than 1,800 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.
A “national liberal arts college” focuses almost exclusively on undergraduate education and awards at least 50 percent of degrees in the arts and sciences. Bethel was previously in the “regional colleges” category – regional colleges award fewer than 50 percent of degrees in the arts and sciences.
You can access the complete rankings now via colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges.
Bethel is also listed in the Washington Monthly annual college guide and on Forbes.com.
Bethel’s category changed in Washington Monthly as well, to National Universities-Liberal Arts. Again, it is the only Kansas private college to appear on that list.
The re-categorization was a result of the update, released in February 2016, if the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the most widely accepted classification system in U.S. higher education. The U.S. Department of Education and many higher education associations use the system to organize their data and determine colleges’ eligibility for grant money.
As a result of implementing the Carnegie system updates, around 12 percent of ranked schools have moved into different categories
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.
See the complete list of 2016–17 Best National Universities-Liberal Arts at washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide?ranking=2016-rankings-national-universities-liberal-arts.
For the ninth 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 660 undergraduate programs out of 6,600 accredited U.S. colleges.
In determining its rankings, Forbes.com places the most weight on “Post-graduate Success,” based on salaries earned after graduation, and a curated “America’s Leaders” list (winners of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, major fellowships and top U.S. cultural and arts awards).
Other key factors are “Student Debt” and “Student Satisfaction” (which looks at freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rates and at student evaluations on the RateMyProfessors website). “Academic Success” (10 percent) and “Graduation Rate” (7.5 percent) round out the list of criteria.
To see the names of all 660 colleges and universities, go to www.forbes.com/top-colleges/.