BLOOMINGTON — For the sixth year in a row, Illinois Wesleyan University made Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of top 100 “best values” among private liberal arts colleges — moving up two notches to 54.
The magazine’s December issue will publish the complete list.
Only six private liberal arts colleges in Illinois are on the list. Wheaton College is ranked 35. Bradley University in Peoria was ranked 86th nationally among private universities. No other private schools from The Pantagraph area made the list.
“Among all the ratings out there, I personally like the one done by Kiplinger because it is a combination of financial and academic measures,” said IWU President Dick Wilson. The category of cost and the availability of financial aid is the biggest factor — worth nearly a third of the final score. Competitiveness, graduation rates, academic support (which includes student-faculty ratio) and student indebtedness also factor into the ranking.
Wilson said the Bloomington university is “very pleased” to not only make the best values list again, but also to have improved its ranking. He called it “a useful tool” in a college search.
“Students and their parents have become pretty astute at looking at the ratings,” said Wilson, adding Kiplinger’s rating “does enter into the equation when they’re narrowing their choices.”
Making the top 100 list shows IWU is “not only a good value but of high quality,” he said.
IWU’s four-year graduation rate of 77.2 percent was second only to Wheaton’s 79.4 percent among Illinois schools on the list. The student faculty ratio of 11 to 1 was comparable to others on the state list, with two slightly lower.
Best value schools
Illinois liberal arts colleges on the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list, along with their national rankings, are:
Wheaton College, Wheaton, 35
Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, 54
Principia College, Elsah, 55
Knox College, Galesburg, 57
Shimer College, Chicago, 47
Augustana College, Rock Island, 61