Wilkes University is among the nation’s top colleges and universities included in Washington Monthly’s annual rankings of higher education institutions and what they are doing for the country.
Wilkes is ranked in two categories: contribution to public good and best bang for the buck. Wilkes is the highest ranked institution from northeast Pennsylvania in the best bang for the buck category, which looks at schools that help students pursue a marketable degree at an affordable price. Wilkes ranked 83 of 384 institutions in the northeast.
In the contribution to public good category, Wilkes ranked 129 of 632 master’s institutions, jumping 15 spots since 2016. Wilkes is the only institution in northeast Pennsylvania to improve its ranking in the category this year.
“We have always taken issue with rankings that focus on prestige as opposed to outcomes. We look for and value rankings that celebrate our unique, access-based mission,” said University President, Patrick F. Leahy. “We’re pleased to be recognized by a respected publication like Washington Monthly, which celebrates our enduring commitment to first-generation and high-need students.”
This is the twelfth year that Washington Monthly has released “a different kind of college ranking.”
“Unlike the prestige- and wealth-driven metrics put out by the likes of U.S. News & World Report, our rankings measure what colleges do for their country,” explained an article on the Washington Monthly website that accompanied the rankings.
Washington Monthly ranks schools based on three categories: social mobility, research, and service. Considerations include the recruiting and graduating of low-income students, each school’s track record of producing cutting-edge scholarship, degree holders who go on to earn research doctoral degrees, and how schools encourage students to give back to the country through service. Each factor has equal weight.
“Instead of rewarding colleges for the number of applications they reject, we give them credit for enrolling unusually large numbers of low-income and first-generation students,” the Washington Monthly article continued. “Instead of assuming that the most expensive schools are also the best, we recognize universities that produce research, train the next generation of scientists and PhDs, and instill their graduates with an ethos of public service.”
In this year’s first-year class at Wilkes, 51 percent of students will be the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Thirty-five percent of Wilkes students in this fall’s class are PELL grant eligible, the federal aid program reserved for the most financially needy students. In addition, 15 percent of the students in the incoming class are expecting a family contribution of zero dollars.
“Our WilkesEDGE program, which launched during this academic year, is just one example of how we support our highest risk students in their transition to college-level learning. We believe that talent is everywhere, and it is our duty to help students find, develop, and unleash it,” said Leahy.
Washington Monthly’s rankings are a more recent measure of the value of a Wilkes education. In 2015, the University was ranked 25 in the nation for economic value by The Economist.
About Wilkes University
Wilkes University is a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the university is on a mission to create one of the nation’s finest small universities, offering all of the programs, activities and opportunities of a large university in the intimate, caring and mentoring environment of a small college, open to all who show promise. The Economist named Wilkes 25th in the nation for the value of its education for graduates. In addition to 42 bachelor’s degree programs, Wilkes offers 25 master’s degree programs and five doctoral/terminal degree programs, including the doctor of philosophy in nursing, doctor of nursing practice, doctor of education, doctor of pharmacy, and master of fine arts in creative writing. Learn more at www.wilkes.edu.