Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

August 19, 2005

U.S. News Ranks Whitworth #6 for Best Colleges, Best Values in West


Whitworth College is ranked sixth among 123 master's-level universities in the 15-state Western region in both the best-colleges and best-values rankings in U.S. News & World Report's 2006 America's Best Colleges guide.

The best-colleges rankings are based on various indicators of an institution's quality, including academic reputation, student selectivity, freshman retention, graduation rate, financial resources and alumni giving. The best-values rankings are based on academic quality and cost. Both rankings were posted to U.S. News & World Report's website today (Aug. 19) and will be available in newsstands on Aug. 22.

Whitworth President Bill Robinson says he appreciates the magazine's continued recognition of Whitworth's academic excellence, but he cautions students and parents against placing too much emphasis on rankings when selecting a college.

"As always, I'm pleased that U.S. News recognizes some of the measurable facets of Whitworth's academic excellence, and it's great if the recognition makes more people aware of the college," Robinson says. "However, the rankings can never capture the real value of our mission or the great things that our students and faculty accomplish. Those are far more important in deciding whether a college is a good fit."

The rankings reflect the steadily rising academic profile of Whitworth's incoming students, who this fall have an average SAT score of 1204 and an average high-school GPA of 3.67. At the same time, the college has achieved and maintained all-time highs for freshman retention and graduation rates.

Whitworth's strong academic reputation and distinctive educational mission has contributed to an 80 percent increase in freshman applications since fall 2000. The college received a record total of 2,147 applications for this fall's incoming freshman class of 460 students.

"Whitworth's consistently high rankings reflect our ongoing commitment to academic excellence, and our investment in high-caliber faculty, technology and facilities," says Michael Le Roy, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. "But we're by no means satisfied. We're focused in our strategic plan over the next five years on providing students with more opportunities to engage with faculty on collaborative research, increase cross-cultural study opportunities, and integrate the Christian faith with the learning process."

Whitworth's #6 best-values ranking - which is based on a formula that relates a school's academic quality to the net cost of attendance for a student receiving the average level of financial aid - is attributed to the college's academic quality and its commitment to providing students need-based financial aid as well as academic scholarships and grants. More than 90 percent of Whitworth students receive some form of financial aid, including the two-thirds of students who receive aid based on financial need.

U.S. News & World Report has published college rankings since 1983. The magazine categorizes schools by mission, and, in some cases, by region, and then ranks them using a weighted composite score of up to 16 indicators of academic quality. The institutional categories used by U.S. News are based on the Carnegie Foundation's classification of higher-education institutions. The master's-level university category in which Whitworth is listed includes schools that offer a full range of undergraduate degrees and a selection of graduate degrees.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Contacts:

Fred Pfursich, dean of enrollment services, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4348 or fpfursich@whitworth.edu.

Michael Le Roy, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, (509) 777-3755 or mleroy@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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