(Posted September 17, 2001)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The weekly news magazine U.S. News & World Report has rated Juniata College in the second tier (among the top 114 institutions) of its 2002 rankings of the best liberal arts college in the nation, according to the publication "America's Best Colleges," which is on newsstands this week.

"We are delighted with the new rankings," says Thomas Kepple, president of Juniata College. "We are pleased that people across the country have recognized the quality of education and the improvements that have been made at Juniata."

Juniata College moved up in the ratings from the third tier because the college improved in several key areas. The college improved on its graduation rate score from 72 percent to 74 percent. The college also improved on its academic reputation score from 2.3 to 2.5 (on a scale from 1 to 5), a rating that U.S. News derives from polling top-level administrators from colleges and universities across the country. Juniata also increased the percentage of incoming freshmen that graduated in the top 10 percent of their class from 37 percent to 42 percent.

The U.S. News rankings revamped its rankings of liberal arts colleges to redefine the category. According to guidelines established by the Carnegie Foundation and adopted by U.S. News, institutions that award at least 50 percent of their undergraduate degrees in liberal arts are defined as liberal arts schools. There are 218 liberal arts colleges, comprising four tiers, which fall under the new guidelines.

U.S. News and World Report uses 16 measures of academic excellence to rate the colleges and universities in its annual "America's Best Colleges" issue. The 16 criteria the magazine and its editors look at fall within seven categories: academic reputation, retention rate, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rates and alumni donations.

Juniata is one of 13 liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania to be ranked in the top two tiers nationally. The college has an enrollment of 1,300 students and has a student-to-faculty ration of 14 to 1. The average class size at Juniata is 15 students and 85 percent of freshmen return to continue their studies after their first year.

The college has 83 full-time faculty members. About 95 percent of the faculty have earned doctorates or hold a terminal degree in their academic field.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.