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Whitworth claims No. 4 spot in “U.S. News” rankings of best values in the West

September 12, 2012
Whitworth listed in top 10 of annual rankings of best regional universities for 13th year in a row

Whitworth University captured the No. 4 spot in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the best regional university values in the West. For the 13th consecutive year, Whitworth also maintained its position as one of the top 10 best regional universities in the West.

Whitworth ranks No. 9 in U.S. News' latest ranking of 121 master's-level universities in the 15-state region of the Western United States. U.S. News has published its rankings annually since 1983; the 2013 rankings were posted to the magazine's website ( today, and the 2013 edition of the magazine's Best Colleges guidebook will hit newsstands on Sept. 18.

Greg Orwig, vice president for admissions and financial aid at Whitworth, says to be ranked a top-10 regional university by U.S. News for the 13th year in a row, in addition to being recognized by so many other outside ranking organizations, is a sign of Whitworth’s commitment to excellence.

“Given the options available to our students, and the investment they are making in their education, they demand and deserve the excellent faculty, facilities and programs we offer,” says Orwig. “What really makes Whitworth distinctive, however, can never be captured in rankings. What our students and alumni celebrate as much as or more than rankings is our mission to elevate rigorous, open intellectual inquiry and the integration of faith and learning, and the deeply relational character of our campus community.”

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. 62 in Kiplinger's 2011-12 rankings of the best values among all private universities in the U.S., was designated "Best in the West" in The Princeton Review's 2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region guide, and was ranked among the top ten private schools in the Pacific Northwest in Forbes' latest America's Top Colleges rankings.

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 383 percent over the past decade, to 6,940 for fall 2012, from 1,811 in fall 2002. This fall’s incoming freshman class of about 630 students is Whitworth’s most academically successful freshman class ever – with an average high-school GPA of 3.77 and average SAT of 1807. Whitworth has an average freshman-sophomore retention rate of 86 percent and an average six-year graduation rate of 77 percent, though the percentage of graduates who finish in four years is 85 percent. All of these 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 $41 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students in 2012-13, and the average financial aid award for Whitworth freshmen receiving aid is nearly $27,900.

"The strategic plan has focused resources on providing students an excellent education within a community of Christian scholars," says Barbara Sanders, Whitworth's interim provost. "Whitworth continues to engage students in a challenging curriculum that integrates faith and learning; the university is dedicated to preparing students to apply their liberal arts education in an increasingly diverse workplace. Faculty are committed to student learning and passionate about creating a learning community where students work together to solve problems. Whitworth’s emphasis on a mind-and-heart education has attracted a strong application pool, and increased enrollment."

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


Greg Orwig, vice president for admissions and financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4580 or

Andrea Idso, interim public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or