The ranking recognizes Wilkes for its
contribution to the public good
through educational access, research and service.
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 133rd in the national universities category, which recognizes institutions that award a significant number of doctoral degrees. In this category, Wilkes is the highest ranked institution in the region and ranked higher than Pennsylvania institutions that include the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University and Duquesne University.
Wilkes is also the highest ranked institution from northeast Pennsylvania in the best bang for the buck ranking, which measures schools that help students pursue a marketable degree at an affordable price. The ranking is based on multiple factors, including affordability for non-wealthy students, graduation rate, the percentage of first-generation students and student earnings after graduation. Wilkes ranked 141 of 386 institutions in the northeast.
“Being ranked as a national university recognizes our commitment to educating students from bachelor’s through doctoral levels,” said interim University President Paul S. Adams. “But we are most proud to be recognized for contributing to the public good. Providing educational opportunities to first-generation and high-need, high-talent students is one of our founding principles. We take great pride in preparing our students for meaningful and well-paying careers.”
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.
“Over the last 15 years, we’ve steadily added new data to our rankings of what colleges do for their country by promoting social mobility, research and public service. That perspective, unlike the wealth- and status-obsessed rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, creates a very different definition of excellence,” explained an article on the Washington Monthly website that accompanied the rankings.
In this year’s first-year class at Wilkes, 43 percent of students will be the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Thirty-seven percent of Wilkes students are PELL grant eligible, the federal aid program reserved for the most financially needy students. In addition, 18 percent of the students in the incoming class are expecting a family contribution of zero dollars.
Wilkes also boasts a 96 percent job placement rate and a 90 percent acceptance rate for students who apply to graduate, medical and professional schools.
In addition to Washington Monthly, Wilkes was recently recognized by The Princeton Review on its “Best Northeastern Colleges” list. In 2015, the University was ranked 25th in the nation for economic value by The Economist.