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Juniata's Ranking Improves in Washington Monthly Poll

(Posted August 24, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College which has recently shot from 85th to 81st in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, jumped 12 slots in another national survey, placing 77th in the college rankings poll for Liberal Arts Colleges created by Washington Monthly magazine available online today and due out on newsstands at the end of the month.

"Our ranking of 77th in the Washington Monthly ratings gratifies all of us on campus because they measure student statistics that have long been important to Juniata -- graduation rates, careers in service, success in obtaining doctorates and medical degrees and how well we serve first-generation and low-income students who strive to better themselves," says Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata.

"Our ranking of 77th in the Washington Monthly ratings gratifies all of us on campus because they measure student statistics that have long been important to Juniata -- graduation rates, careers in service, success in obtaining doctorates and medical degrees and how well we serve first-generation and low-income students who strive to better themselves."
Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata.

Washington Monthly's poll, now in its sixth year, emphasizes ratings based on how well the college serves as an engine of social mobility (through such criteria as percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and the percentage difference between predicted and actual graduation rates) and service by college students and staff (such as participation in the Peace Corps and ROTC, whether the college provides matching dollars for service-oriented scholarships and how many students participate in community service), research (for liberal arts colleges some criteria included how many undergraduates went on to earn a doctorate) in addition to other ranking criteria. The College was rated 89th in last year's poll.

"We have started a series of programs designed to better serve our first-generation and low-income students who want to get one of the best educations in the nation," Kepple says. "One of our most successful has been our Inbound program, which asks students to come to college a week early to participate in activities geared specifically to their interests. It has been so successful that the Walmart Foundation gave us a grant several years ago to expand the program."

Instead of asking what a college can do for students, the editors of Washington Monthly ask "What are colleges doing for the country?"

The editors of the longtime Washington, D.C. magazine point out that service is becoming more important. Applications to the Peace Corps went up 18 percent in 2009 and applicants for the Teach for America program went from 18,000 in 2007 to 46,000 in 2010

Juniata is one of nine Pennsylvania colleges or universities in the poll's top 100 liberal arts colleges. The Pennsylvania institutions listed are: Bryn Mawr College (2nd), Swarthmore College (3rd), Haverford College (33rd), Allegheny College (36th), Westminster College (38th), Bucknell University (39th), Susquehanna University (53rd) and Dickinson College (63rd).

Juniata remains in the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News poll. Juniata has climbed higher in the U.S. News poll over the last three years, climbing from 98th in 2007 to 81st this year. The weekly news magazine rated Juniata in the first tier of its 2010 rankings of the best liberal arts college in the nation, according to the publication's issue "America's Best Colleges." The college was 85th last year.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.