The Washington Monthly recently released its 2013 ranking of the nation’s 1,655 community colleges and Ridgewater was ranked high.
With the importance of an education beyond high school tied to future earnings, experts say the low-cost option of attending community colleges has helped fuel their rapid growth in enrollment.
Ridgewater College, with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson, was ranked number 41 out of the 1,655 community colleges in the nation.
Roughly 42 percent of the U.S. collegiate population attends a community college.
The Washington Monthly’s ranking of the best community colleges is based on U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion, and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. The CCSSE survey includes responses on teaching practices, student workload, interaction with faculty, academic challenge, student support, and student effort.
Few publications – aside from Washington Monthly – acknowledge a group of schools who are educating more than two out of every five college students. Washington Monthly’s web editor, Daniel Luzer, notes that “while [U.S. News & World Report] glorifies schools that promise to initiate their students into the elite, the best community colleges serve a far more important mission…admission into the middle class”.
“The success of our students is more important than ever,” said, Ridgewater College President Douglas Allen. “At a time when a college degree is essential to entering the middle class, Ridgewater College offers a clear and affordable path to education and employment for our students.
“This ranking is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff to ensuring that our students at Ridgewater College are successful,” said President Allen. “I’m honored to be a small part of an institution so committed to student success.”