Forbes ranks WWU among nation’s top colleges

Western Washington University is among Forbes Magazine’s top colleges in America, with Forbes noting that the rankings focus on factors that directly concern today’s incoming students, such as post-graduation success, student satisfaction, student debt and graduation rates.

Forbes Magazine, which has a circulation of over 900,000, ranks colleges and universities across the nation to come up with their annual list of America’s 650 Top Colleges.

“Western’s academic excellence is increasingly being recognized in our region and across the country. Western’s academic focus is a high-quality learning environment where students develop the critical thinking skills increasingly needed by businesses, a wide array of professions and society at large,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

With an overall rank of 339 – an improvement from 353 in 2012 ­– Western ranked third among public universities in the state of Washington after the University of Washington and Washington State University.

The Forbes rankings are based on five general categories: post graduate success (37.5 percent), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction (22.5 percent), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates; debt (17.5 percent), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate (11.25 percent) and nationally competitive awards (11.25 percent), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright or go on to earn a Ph.D.

Western also has consistently received strong rankings in U.S. News & World Report surveys of colleges and universities in the nation. Western is the highest ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to 2013 U.S. News & World Report college rankings.

In its 2012 issue, Kiplinger’s magazine ranks Western 74th on its list of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges in the United States.