August 17, 2007
Whitworth Repeats as No. 3 Best Value in U.S. News' 2008 Rankings
Whitworth University is again ranked among the top 10 best universities and best values in the West in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings. The magazine's 2008 America's Best Colleges guide ranks Whitworth 3rd in its best-values listing for the second year in a row and 9th on its list of best master's-level universities; both rankings are among 116 institutions in the 17-state region of the West.
Whitworth Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Le Roy says he welcomes the attention high rankings can bring to Whitworth's academic excellence and value, but he cautions students and parents against placing too much emphasis on the rankings when selecting a college.
"We appreciate that U.S. News continues to recognize important aspects of Whitworth's academic quality," Le Roy says. "However, rankings don't begin to capture the strength of our mission, faculty or campus culture, and those factors are especially important in determining whether Whitworth or any other school is a good fit for a particular student."
The rankings, which U.S. News has published annually since 1983, were posted to the magazine's website (www.usnews.com) today (Aug. 17) and will be available in newsstands on Aug. 20.
Whitworth has consistently been among the top schools in its category in the U.S. News best-values rankings, which consider both academic quality and the net cost of attendance for students receiving the average amount of need-based financial aid. Earlier this year, Whitworth also was named one of Kiplinger's top 50 best values among private universities nationwide; at No. 32 on the list, Whitworth was ranked higher than any other university in the Pacific Northwest.
Whitworth provided more than $17.3 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students in 2006-07. More than 80 percent of incoming freshmen receive academic scholarships, and 67 percent of students receive need-based aid. The average debt load ($18,246) for Whitworth graduates ranked 13th on Kiplinger's list of top university values and is $1,250 below the national median of $19,500.
"We're particularly pleased with the best-values ranking because it reflects Whitworth's excellent academic quality and our commitment to a strong financial-aid and scholarship program," says Dean of Enrollment Fred Pfursich. "Recognition by both U.S. News and Kiplinger's affirms that students get a tremendous return on their investment at Whitworth in terms of personalized attention from faculty, small classes, and great opportunities to be involved in athletics, performing arts, clubs and other extra-curricular activities."
The U.S. News rankings of best colleges and universities are based on various indicators of an institution's quality, including academic reputation, student selectivity, freshman retention, graduation rate, financial resources and alumni giving.
Whitworth has seen a 454 percent increase in freshman applications since fall 2000, with a record total of 5,060 applications for this fall's incoming class of about 535 students. At the same time, the university has achieved all-time highs for freshman retention and six-year graduation rates, at 89 percent and 74 percent, respectively, in fall 2006. (U.S. News bases its rankings on an average of the past three years.)
"Whitworth's application pool wouldn't be growing so dramatically in number and quality if the university weren't committed to providing an outstanding educational experience," Le Roy says. "The fact that our graduation rate and retention rate are at record highs, and are among the best in our peer group, are great indicators that we are attracting excellent students and are helping them to complete their degrees in a timely manner. We are certainly as pleased with that as we are with high rankings."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Fred Pfursich, Dean of Enrollment Services, 777.4348 or email@example.com
Greg Orwig, Director of Communications, 777.4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.