Wellesley Ranked Fourth Among Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News

For immediate release:
August 18, 2006
Mary Ann Hill

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- For the ninth consecutive year, U.S.News & World Report magazine has ranked Wellesley College fourth among national liberal arts colleges. For the past 15 years, Wellesley has placed among the top five colleges in the annual listing.

The magazine gave Wellesley high marks for the racial and economic diversity of its student body and its generous financial aid. Although there is not a separate category for women’s colleges, Wellesley continues to be the highest ranked women’s college.

The magazine uses the rankings to highlight particular features of institutions. Wellesley was recognized in several categories, including:

- #3 in “best value” among national liberal arts colleges, which relates “a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its U.S. News ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid,” according to the magazine. Wellesley has a need-blind admission policy, so admission decisions are made without consideration of a student's financial situation. In addition, Wellesley meets 100 percent of a student's demonstrated financial need.

- #3 in racial diversity – a figure that looks at student representation in racial and ethnic groups, not including international students.

- #3 in economic diversity as measured by percentage of students receiving federal Pell Grants. Although not recognized by U.S. News, it is noteworthy that the top four liberal arts colleges in percentage of Pell Grant recipients are women’s colleges: Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Wellesley, and Bryn Mawr.

- #9 in the least average amount of student debt among private liberal arts colleges.

- #6 among the colleges with the highest graduation rates (93%).

The latest edition of U.S. News' "America's Best Colleges" is published in the Aug. 21 issue of the weekly magazine and in its annual guidebook.

For the second year in a row, Wellesley College has placed in the top two liberal arts colleges in the nation by The Washington Monthly College Guide. “Unlike other college guides, such as U.S.News and World Report, this guide asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country,” say the editors. The rankings are based on three criteria: “how well [a college] performs as an engine of social mobility (ideally helping the poor to get rich rather than the very rich to get very, very rich), how well it does in fostering scientific and humanistic research, and how well it promotes an ethic of service to country.” Mmore on these new rankings can be found on The Washington Monthly's site.

Wellesley College has been a leader in the education of women for more than 130 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 65 countries.