Goshen College excels in 2009 ‘U.S. News & World Report’ rankings; listed as 149th best liberal arts college and one of top study abroad programs

GOSHEN, Ind. — In a report eagerly anticipated by incoming college students and their parents, Goshen College placed high in the third tier of Best Liberal Arts Colleges for the eighth straight year in the U.S. News & World Report 2009 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” Goshen was ranked 149th out of 265 of the country’s top liberal arts colleges.

Chosen from all 4,000 private and public colleges and universities in the country, Goshen College also was listed among 32 top colleges and universities with outstanding study abroad programs for its 40-year-old Study-Service Term (SST). In addition, Goshen was ranked sixth for the percentage of graduates studying abroad, with 85 percent.

In 1968, Goshen College was one of the first schools in the United States to include international education as part of its graduation requirements and sent units to Costa Rica, Jamaica and Guadeloupe. Since then, more than 7,000 students and 230 faculty leaders have traveled to 22 countries for a combination of cultural education and service-learning; the college currently organizes SST units in Cambodia, China, Germany, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Senegal, Perœ and Tanzania.

Goshen also was given special recognition for being a “least debt” college, being an “A+ option for B students,” having a high retention rate, a high graduation rate, low class sizes, and for the economic and racial diversity among its students as well as a high percentage of international students.

“These rankings show that Goshen College is doing an excellent job preparing students for a rapidly changing world by providing a top-quality liberal arts education,” said President James E. Brenneman. “The ratings encompass such areas as graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, class sizes, financial resources and alumni giving, so they do focus on criteria that indicate the quality of a college or university.”

Brenneman added, “I’m particularly pleased this year by Goshen College’s extremely high national ranking in the quality of our Study-Service Term and in the percentage of our students who study abroad. Our outstanding faculty and staff are preparing our students for extraordinary futures through our Christ-centered core values of passionate learning, servant leadership, compassionate peacemaking, and global citizenship.”

Among similar liberal arts colleges, Goshen was ranked 66th out of 300 for being a “least debt college,” with an average total indebtedness for the 2007 graduating class of $18,976. Goshen also was ranked as one of 102 liberal arts schools that are “A+ options for B students” — quality institutions that are respectably ranked and accept a significant number of students without straight A’s.

In other rankings, Goshen: was among the top 200 colleges in the freshman retention rate (82 percent); in the top 200 for the six-year graduation rate (61 percent); on the list of the top 200 schools for economic diversity, with 21 percent of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants for low-income students; on the list of the top 200 schools for campus racial diversity; on the list of top schools for the most international students, with 6 percent; and on the list of schools with the highest proportion of classes under 20 students, at 60 percent. In addition, high school counselors gave Goshen high scores for providing the best education to their students on a list of 200 liberal arts colleges, a 3.7 rating on a scale with 5 as the highest.

Goshen also placed well in the categories of alumni giving (109th), financial resources (111th) graduation and retention (138th) and student selectivity (140th).

U.S. News & World Report categorizes institutions by mission and ranks them based on data in 15 areas related to academic excellence such as peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and class sizes, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

The “Liberal Arts” category, in which Goshen College is ranked, is defined by the Carnegie Commission as schools emphasizing undergraduate education and awarding 50 percent of degrees in the arts and sciences. Most are prestigious private institutions, including Amherst College and Williams College, which were tied for first place this year. The top-placing Indiana institutions were DePauw University (49th), Wabash College (54th), Earlham College (67th), Hanover College (98th) and St. Mary’s College (104th).

Many of the rankings and some articles from the “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook appear in the Sept. 1-8, 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report that will reach newsstands Aug. 25. All 2009 rankings are available on the magazine’s Web site at www.usnews.com.

Earlier this month, Forbes.com ranked Goshen College 159th out of all U.S. colleges and universities, based on the quality of education provided, how much students achieve and several other key factors, in its first ratings of U.S. colleges and universities. Sixteen Indiana schools made the list, with Goshen at seventh.

– By Richard R. Aguirre

Most students studying abroad:

  1. Lee University, Cleveland, Tenn., 100%
  2. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, N.H., 100%
  3. California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, Calif., 100%
  4. Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C., 90%
  5. Yeshiva University, New York, N.Y., 90%
  6. Goshen College, Goshen, Ind., 85%
  7. Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., 83%
  8. Centre College, Danville, Ky., 82%
  9. University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, 80%
  10. Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., 76%

Source: U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 edition of America’s Best Colleges. Learn more at www.usnews.com.

Editors: For more information about this release, contact Goshen College Director of Public Relations Richard R. Aguirre at (574) 535-7571 or rraguirre@goshen.edu or News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.