August 22, 2008
U.S. News Ranks Whitworth a Top 10 University in West for Ninth Straight Year
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 2009 America's Best Colleges guide places Whitworth No. 6 in its ranking of 116 master's-level universities in the 17-state region of the West; Whitworth is No. 5 – its third consecutive year in the top five – in U.S. News' best-values rankings in the same category.
Whitworth President Bill Robinson 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 rankings when selecting a college.
"It's great to be recognized so favorably, but it isn't healthy for Whitworth or its prospective students to think some schools are 'better' than others in absolute terms," Robinson says. "We have a very clear mission to provide an education shaped by the integration of Christian faith and learning and by rigorous, open intellectual inquiry. For students who want that kind of educational experience, we're the best school on the planet. For students with quite different educational objectives, we might not even be in the top 15. Our satisfaction comes from serving students and being faithful to our mission. All the recognitions beyond that are a bonus."
The rankings, which U.S. News has published annually since 1983, were posted to the magazine's website (www.usnews.com) today and will be available in newsstands on Aug. 25.
U.S. News has consistently ranked Whitworth among the best colleges and best values in its category. This year, Whitworth also was ranked No. 30 in Kiplinger's top 50 best values among all private universities nationwide, was designated "Best in the West" in Princeton Review's 2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region guide, and was one of the top Pacific Northwest schools in Forbes' America's Best Colleges rankings of top public and private schools.
The U.S. News rankings are based on various indicators of an institution's quality, including academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, freshman retention, graduation rate, financial resources and alumni giving.
Whitworth's student selectivity has increased dramatically as the number of freshman applications has increased almost 500 percent, from 1,115 in 2000 to 5,471 for fall 2008. With a freshman class of about 540 students, Whitworth's 49 percent acceptance rate last year was among the lowest of its peers, and the average high-school GPA and SAT scores of its 2007 freshman class were among the highest. At the same time, the university has achieved all-time highs for freshman retention and six-year graduation rates in recent years.
"Whitworth's application pool wouldn't be growing so dramatically in number and quality if the university wasn't committed to providing an outstanding educational experience," says Whitworth Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid Fred Pfursich. "The fact that our graduation rate and retention rate 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. Those outcomes are even more important to us than high rankings."
U.S. News' best-values rankings are based on academic quality and the net cost of attendance for a student receiving the average level of need-based financial aid.
This year, Whitworth will provide more than $23 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students. Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen receive academic scholarships, which average $8,603 per student, and 61 percent of students receive need-based aid.
"We're particularly pleased to be recognized as a best value because it reflects Whitworth's commitments to both academic quality and a strong financial-aid and scholarship program," Pfursich says. "The high rankings in U.S. News and Kiplinger's affirm that Whitworth students get a tremendous return on their investment in terms of personalized attention from faculty, small classes, and opportunities to be involved in athletics, the performing arts, study-abroad programs and other extra-curricular activities."
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, vice president for admissions and financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, senior writer for marketing and development, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.