Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Whitworth claims No. 2 spot in "U.S. News" rankings of best values in the West

Whitworth listed in top 10 of annual rankings of best regional universities for 12th year in a row

Whitworth University climbed three positions to capture the No. 2 spot in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the best values in the West, and held its position in the top 10 of the rankings of best regional universities in the West, marking the 12th year in a row that Whitworth has made the top 10 on the best regional universities list.

Whitworth is tied for No. 9 in U.S. News' latest ranking of 118 master's-level universities in the 17-state region of the Western United States. U.S. News has published its rankings annually since 1983; the 2012 rankings were posted to the magazine's website (http://www.usnews.com/) today and the 2012 edition of the magazine's Best Colleges guidebook will hit newsstands on Sept. 20.

Whitworth Executive Vice President Michael Le Roy says Whitworth's consistently strong overall rankings reflect the university's commitment to excellence in the education it provides to students. He says Whitworth's ranking as one of the best values in higher education points to the university's dedication to allocating its resources in ways that best serve its students.

"High rankings in U.S. News are indicators of Whitworth's commitment to using our resources to provide our students with an excellent education and to be faithful to our mission of integrating Christian faith and learning," Le Roy says. "Our strong application and enrollment numbers demonstrate what the rankings affirm, and if we continue to serve our students in ways that challenge them academically and spiritually, the rankings will follow."

Le Roy continues, "High-quality education also involves many intangibles, such as the level of faculty commitment to student-learning, the quality of instruction, and the role that the mission of the institutions plays in shaping the minds and hearts of students. So while we appreciate the ways a top 10 ranking in U.S. News recognizes measurable positive attributes, we also remain committed to striving for excellence in areas that can't be quantified."

U.S. News has consistently ranked Whitworth among the best regional universities and best values in the Western U.S. Whitworth also was recently listed at No. 51 in Kiplinger's 2010-11 rankings of the top best values among all private universities in the U.S., was designated "Best in the West" in The Princeton Review's 2012 Best Colleges: Region by Region guide, and ranked among the top six private schools in the Pacific Northwest in Forbes' latest America's Best Colleges rankings.

"We are excited to once again be recognized by U.S. News as one of the best regional universities in the West," says Greg Orwig, Whitworth's vice president for admissions and financial aid. "Being ranked consistently in the top 10 of our peers by U.S. News reflects the high caliber of our students, the excellence of our faculty, and the academic quality of a Whitworth education."

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 grown more than 629 percent, to 7,013 for fall 2011, from 1,115 in 2000. With a freshman class of about 530 students this fall, Whitworth's 54 percent acceptance rate was among the lowest of its peers. This fall, Whitworth welcomed the most academically successful freshman class in its history – with an average high-school GPA of 3.7 and average SAT of 1807. Whitworth has a three-year average freshman-sophomore retention rate of 86 percent, while 85 percent of students who graduate from Whitworth do so in four years; both of those measures are well above national averages. In addition, the university has lowered its student-faculty ratio to 11-to-1 even as undergraduate enrollment has risen.

The 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.

Whitworth will provide more than $35 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students this year, and the average financial aid award for Whitworth students receiving aid is $25,366.

"It is especially gratifying to rise to No. 2 in the best values list because those rankings recognize Whitworth's strong commitments to academic quality and financial aid," Orwig says. "At a time when families are working harder than ever to afford college, we strive to ensure that Whitworth students get an excellent return on their investment through small class sizes, exceptional teaching, career and graduate school preparation and on-time graduation. High rankings in U.S. News, Kiplinger's, Forbes and The Princeton Review affirm Whitworth's track record of success in these areas."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Greg Orwig, vice president for admissions and financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.