(Posted September 19, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College's ranking among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation dipped this year as the college was ranked 102nd nationally according to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report Rankings released today.

In addition, Juniata also was listed in the top 100 in the 2011 Washington Monthly College rankings, which rated Juniata 83rd in the nation among all colleges and universities nationwide, down slightly from its 77th ranking in the 2010 poll.

Juniata also saw its ratings dip in the Forbes.com poll, where the central Pennsylvania college was rated 143rd. Last year, the college was rated 79th in the nationwide ratings.

Juniata was ranked 102nd in the top tier of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report poll. Juniata's overall score in the poll dropped just two points, from 56 to 58. The poll's reputational score also dropped by two points.

Juniata's largest differential was in the poll's statistics for graduation rate. In 2010 Juniata's predicted rate of graduation was 73 percent and the college achieved an actual graduation rate of 79 percent. In 2011, Juniata had a predicted rate of 73 percent and the college's actual rate was 72 percent.

Juniata was ranked 81st last year. "Recently, the evaluators at U.S. News have given each institution's six-year graduation rate more weight in their calculations," says Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College. "Improving our graduation and retention rates has been an important long-term goal for the college. We are going to work hard to get our average back up to our goal of 80 percent."

Juniata's 102 ranking is its first time out of the poll's top 100 since 2005. There are 266 liberal arts colleges included in the survey spread over two tiers.

Juniata shares the 102nd ranking with seven other institutions: Albion College in Albion, Mich.; Bennington College, in Bennington, Vt.; Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Ala.; Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio; and Washington & Jefferson, College in Washington, Pa.

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.

In the Forbes.com ratings, Juniata was rated just below Drew University (142nd), Salem College (141st) and University of California-Irvine (140th) in this year's poll. In addition, Juniata was rated ahead of such Pennsylvania institutions as Grove City College (145th), Moravian College (146th), Susquehanna University (148th), Washington & Jefferson College (150th), Allegheny College (153rd), and Penn State University (182nd).

The Forbes poll weighed its ratings by analyzing a variety of data. The magazine based 27.5 percent of the rankings on 4 million student evaluations of courses and instructors on the Web site RateMyProfessors.com. Another 30 percent analyzes postgraduate success, such as the average salaries of graduates as reported by Payscale.com. alumni listings in "Who's Who in America" and alumni in Forbes CCAP Corporate Officers List.

Additionally, another 17.5 percent takes into account the estimated average student debt after four years. Another section (17.5 percent) of the rankings are based on the college's four-year graduation rate. Finally, the rankings also take into account (7.5 percent) the number of students or faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive prizes such as a Rhodes Scholarship or a Fulbright Fellowship.

Juniata also was rated a "Best Buy" by the "Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012," one of 45 other institutions rated as four- or five-star academic colleges or universities that are included in the "moderate" or "inexpensive" categories.

Additionally, Juniata is one of just 40 colleges featured in the ever-popular college guidebook "Colleges That Change Lives," by a former New York Times education editor, the late Loren Pope. Juniata also was ranked 6th in the Top 10 Healthiest Colleges and Universities, by the ratings website CollegeProwler.com.

Finally, Juniata was chosen as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to the Princeton Review, the New York-based company known for its education, admission and test-prep services. Juniata was selected one of the colleges chosen for the "Best in the Northeast" section of the Princeton Review annual college guide "The Best 373 Colleges." There are 373 institutions overall featured in the 2010 edition of the guide.

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