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Washington Monthly ranks Berea among tops for ''social mobility''

Berea College was among the Top 30 Liberal Arts Colleges in the Washington Monthly’s 2009 on-line ranking of the nation’s colleges and universities. In addition to a high rank of #12 overall, Berea was ranked #4 in the social mobility category, the magazine’s measure of success in admitting and graduating low-income students.

In praising schools that have a mission to serve both underrepresented and low-income students, Berea was cited as “founded by abolitionists as an integrated, coeducational college that charges no tuition and is dedicated to helping first-generation college students” enroll and earn degrees.

The rankings and guide appear in the September/October issue of the magazine, and according to the editors, aim to provide “a measure of not just what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. To compile the list, the magazine gathered publicly available data and settled on three criteria: social mobility, research, and service.

“In our eyes, America’s best colleges are those that work hardest to help economically disadvantaged students earn the credentials that the job market demands. They’re the institutions that contribute new scientific discoveries and highly trained PhDs. They’re the colleges that emphasize the obligations students have to serve their communities and the nation at large.”

The Washington Monthly acknowledges that rankings are important - as ways to influence institutions to improve as well as to provide comparative data to students and their families - but bills its rankings as an alternative to those published by U.S. News and World Report, which it claims use the wrong data and are driven by a highly subjective reputational survey.

Other Kentucky schools included in the rankings include the University of Kentucky, Centre College, Asbury College, Pikeville College, Transylvania University, Lindsey Wilson College, Georgetown College and Kentucky Wesleyan College.

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