Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whitworth ranks No. 39 on Kiplinger's list of 50 best values in private universities

Whitworth now the highest-ranked school in the Pacific Northwest

Whitworth University has once again captured a top 40 spot on Kiplinger's annual rankings of the 100 best values among private liberal arts colleges and universities in the United States. The university joins some of the most elite schools in the country on the magazine's 2009-10 rankings. It is one of the smallest to appear on the list, yet it is the highest-ranked school in the Pacific Northwest and ranks ahead of all other private universities on the West Coast, with the exceptions of the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

The list is posted to the Kiplinger website and appears in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. The magazine ranks the 50 best values among private liberal arts colleges and the 50 best values among private universities separately but based on the same criteria of academic quality and affordability, with academic quality accounting for two-thirds of the formula.

The California Institute of Technology tops Kiplinger’s list of best university values, followed by Princeton, Yale, Rice and Harvard. West Coast schools joining Whitworth (No. 39) in the top 50 are Stanford University (No. 11), the University of Southern California (No. 33), Santa Clara University (No. 43), and Gonzaga University (No. 50). Whitman College is ranked 20th on the list of best liberal arts college values. The complete rankings can be accessed online at http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/privatecolleges/.

"Being recognized by Kiplinger's in its 2010 rankings of the best values among private universities is yet another indication of Whitworth's academic quality," says Fred Pfursich, vice president of admissions and financial aid at Whitworth. "Whitworth's top 50 national ranking in this impressive list of private universities clearly acknowledges our commitment to offering a top-tier academic environment along with an excellent financial aid program."

The academic quality measures in Kiplinger's rankings include the percentage of applicants granted admission; the percentage of 2008-09 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.

Whitworth's admissions rate has remained highly selective as the number of applications to the university has grown from 1,115 in 2000 to nearly 6,000 for the fall 2009 freshman class. The average SAT score for incoming freshmen also has climbed steadily, reaching 1790 for the fall 2009 class, compared to the national average of 1510. Whitworth has maintained a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio even as undergraduate enrollment has grown from 1,878 in 2000 to 2,331 in 2007 (the latest year for which enrollment data was available for the rankings).

The financial aid measures factored into Kiplinger's rankings include total costs for the 2009-10 academic year, cost minus the average need-based aid amount (excluding loans), the average percentage of a student's financial need met by the school's aid package, the percentage of the average aid package that comes from grants or scholarships, the cost for a student with no demonstrated need after subtracting the average non-need aid amount (excluding loans), the 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 provided more than $31.3 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students in 2009-10. Nearly 98 percent of incoming freshmen receive academic scholarships, which average $9,308 per student.

"Whitworth is not only a great value but a great investment," Pfursich says. "When students invest in themselves at Whitworth, 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 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Fred Pfursich, vice president of admissions and financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4348 or fpfursich@whitworth.edu.

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