Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2008

Whitworth Repeats as Top Northwest Value in Kiplinger's Private University Rankings

Whitworth University moved up two spots, to No. 30, in Kiplinger's 2008 rankings of the 50 best private university values – a list that includes some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Whitworth repeats as the highest-ranked Northwest school in the rankings, which are posted to the Kiplinger website and appear in the April issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

The California Institute of Technology tops Kiplinger's ranking of best private university values for the second year in a row, followed by Yale, Princeton, MIT and Rice. West Coast schools joining Whitworth (No. 30) in the top 50 are Stanford University (No. 13), Gonzaga University (No. 34), University of Southern California (No. 36), and Santa Clara University (No. 37). Whitman College is ranked No. 28 on the list of best liberal arts college values. The complete rankings can be accessed online at www.kiplinger.com/tools/privatecolleges.

The magazine ranks the top 50 private universities and top 50 liberal arts-colleges separately but based on the same criteria of academic quality and affordability, with academic quality accounting for two-thirds of the formula.

"Being included for the second year in a row in Kiplinger's ranking of best private-university values is a great indicator of Whitworth's commitment to academic excellence and its strong financial-aid program," says Fred Pfursich, dean of enrollment services at Whitworth. "To be ranked among some of the best private universities in the country validates for students that a Whitworth education is an outstanding investment in their future."

Kiplinger Senior Associate Editor Jane Bennett Clark said Whitworth's high ranking can be attributed to its overall academic quality as well as to its relatively low cost and high percentage of non-need-based aid.

"Our exclusive rankings showcase a range of schools with strong academics, generous financial-aid policies and, in some cases, a decent price to begin with," Clark writes in the article that accompanies the rankings.

Starting with data from more than 1,000 private schools, Kiplinger's separates private universities from liberal arts colleges based on the Carnegie classification system and ranks each group based on a number of measures for academic quality and affordability.  Measures of academic quality include the percentage of applicants granted admission; the percentage of 2006-07 freshmen who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math sections of the SAT or 24 or higher on the ACT; student-faculty ratio; and four- and five-year graduation rates.

Admission to Whitworth has become increasingly selective as the number of applications to the university has grown, from 1,115 in 2000 to more than 5,600 for the fall 2008 freshman class.  The average SAT score (combined verbal and math) for incoming freshmen also has climbed steadily – from 1119 in 2000 to a projected 1210 for the fall 2008 class. Whitworth has maintained a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio even as full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown from 1,583 in 2000 to 1,927 in 2007.

The financial-aid measures factored into Kiplinger's rankings include total costs for the 2007-08 academic year; cost after need-based aid, percentage of the average aid package covered by grants and scholarships; cost for a student with no demonstrated need after subtracting the average non-need aid amount (excluding loans); percentage of all undergraduates without need who received non-need-based aid; and the average amount of debt owed by a graduate who took out an educational loan.

Whitworth's total costs of $33,898 for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and estimated book expenses were third-lowest among the top 50 private universities in Kiplinger's rankings. Whitworth ranked 4th for cost after non-need-based aid ($23,428) and 10th in cost after need-based aid ($21,065). Pfursich attributes the university's relative affordability to the fact that Whitworth provides nearly $20 million per year in grants and scholarships to students. Eight-five percent of incoming freshmen receive academic scholarships, which average $9,000 per year.

"Whitworth is not only a great value, but a great investment," Pfursich said. "When students invest in a Whitworth education, they can expect personalized attention from faculty, small classes, and abundant opportunities to be involved in athletics, performing arts, clubs and other extracurricular activities. And they can expect to be prepared for successful careers and lives of purpose."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


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

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu

Related Links:

Whitworth Press Release Index