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College Rises to Second Tier in Magazine’s Annual Rankings


Pennsylvania College of Technology has risen to the second tier in the rankings of Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s (North) in the 2003 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” published by U.S. News & World Report. Last year, in its first appearance in the rankings, Penn College was in the classification’s third tier.

There are a total of 69 colleges included in the North region of the Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s classification. The second-tier ranking begins at 19 and runs through 37; the third tier is 38-54 and the fourth tier, 55-69. The publication lists colleges alphabetically, rather than as a numerical ranking, in the second through fourth tiers. Only the top tier is ranked numerically (1-18).

The only other public college ranked along with Penn College in the second tier is University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Other Pennsylvania colleges all privates appearing in the second tier are Alvernia, Delaware Valley, Neumann, Thiel and Wilson. Other colleges ranked in the second tier are Albertus Magnus (Conn.), Caldwell (N.J.), Champlain (Vt.), Concordia, Keuka and St. Francis (N.Y.), Daniel Webster (N.H.), Endicott, Lasell and Simon’s Rock College of Bard (Mass.), Villa Julie (Md.) and Wesley (Del.).

Pennsylvania colleges that rank in the top tier of Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s (North) are Elizabethtown (2), Messiah (3), Grove City (4), Cedar Crest (9) and Mercyhurst (12).

The Pennsylvania State University is ranked 45 among the Top 50 of the Best National Universities-Doctoral.

The Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s classification includes colleges that focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in liberal-arts disciplines. At least 10 percent of the undergraduate degrees awarded by these colleges are bachelor’s.

The colleges in each category are ranked against their peers, based on composite weighted scores. U.S. News and World Report explains that, in addition to surveys completed by the colleges, data is used from sources including Wintergreen/Orchard House, the American Association of University Professors, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Council for Aid to Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories assessed include a peer assessment (by administrators at peer institutions), retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

The peer-assessment score assessed to Penn College was 2.6; the highest score assessed in the second tier was 3.2 and the highest among the top 18 was 3.6.

Other data published in Penn College’s second-tier listing was:

  • average freshman retention rate 64 percent
  • average graduation rate 41 percent
  • percentage of classes under 20 61 percent
  • percentage of classes of 50 or more 0 percent
  • student/faculty ratio 18/1
  • faculty who are full time 83 percent
  • freshmen in top 25 percent of high school class 18 percent
  • acceptance rate 90 percent

The highest average freshman retention rate reported in the second tier was 81 percent at University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown; the highest average graduation rate in the tier was 67 percent at Champlain College in Vermont.

To find more information about the exclusive rankings of over 1,400 schools offered this year by U.S. News & World Report, you can purchase the expanded print copy of the “2003 Edition of America’s Best Colleges” or the regular Sept. 23 issue of U.S. News & World Report, or view the information online.

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