For the second year in a row, Northwestern College has been ranked sixth among the nation’s top baccalaureate colleges by Washington Monthly. The magazine’s rankings, released today, are based on how well the schools contribute to the public good in the areas of social mobility, research and service.
Northwestern has been the highest-ranked school among members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and among Iowa colleges since Washington Monthly began ranking baccalaureate colleges in 2010.
The rankings list Elizabeth City State University of North Carolina first, followed by Tuskegee University of Alabama. In addition to Northwestern College, other baccalaureate institutions in Washington Monthly’s top 20 include Messiah College of Pennsylvania, seventh; Augustana College of South Dakota; 11th; Hastings College, 14th; College of the Ozarks, 19th; and Taylor University, 20th. No other Iowa college is in the top 20.
Washington Monthly’s ranking system is designed to measure how effectively colleges serve their students and, ultimately, the country. In an article on its website, the magazine says it gives 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 Ph.Ds. 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.”
Among the factors figuring into the Washington Monthly rankings are the number of bachelor’s degree recipients who go on to earn doctoral degrees or serve in the Peace Corps as well as the number of students who participate in community service and the staff support those efforts receive. In addition, the magazine considers the cost-adjusted graduation rate, which includes components such as the percentage of Pell Grant recipients, incoming SATs and net price, in an effort to highlight schools that use their resources to educate students effectively at a relatively low cost.
Northwestern is fifth in the number of alumni serving in the Peace Corps, relative to the size of the school; ninth in community service participation; and 16th in the category of support for community service.
“We are pleased that Washington Monthly has once again ranked us among the best colleges in the nation,” says Greg Christy, Northwestern College’s president. “Year in and year out, the data shows our graduates have received an education that has prepared them well for lives of achievement, service and research. Our society’s need for leaders—especially Christian leaders—continues to grow, and Northwestern excels at educating students who are empowered to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.”