Students studying outside the library

U.S. News ranks Wofford among best national liberal arts colleges

Publication puts Wofford at #77; also a 'best value'

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Wofford Class of 2020

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College improved its ranking among the top national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” going from #82 to #77 among liberal arts colleges and universities across the nation, according to the report released today.

Wofford also was ranked #47 "Best Value National Liberal Arts Colleges," the only S.C. institution on that list. Wofford also is #80 in the “High School Counselors Ranking of Liberal Arts Colleges.”

U.S. News lists 239 institutions in its “national liberal arts colleges” rankings; there are about 500 liberal arts colleges in the country.

“We are pleased with Wofford’s continued recognition as being among the best institutions of higher education in the country,” President Nayef H. Samhat says. “Wofford consistently fares well because of the college's academic rigor, outstanding faculty, study abroad participation and successful graduates; we are committed to graduating our students in four years. Wofford creates an environment where learning happens around the clock, and this national recognition reflects the college's commitment to preparing students for life after college.”

The U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, now in their 32nd year, “provide an excellent starting point” for the college search, the publication says, reminding users to “keep in mind that the rankings provide a launching pad for more research, not an easy answer.” The rankings are based on “such widely accepted indicators of excellence as first-year retention rates, graduation rates and the strength of the faculty.”

The ranking system “rests on two pillars. The formula uses quantitative and qualitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, and it is based on our researched view of what matters in education.”

The category in which Wofford is ranked – national liberal arts colleges – includes institutions that focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education, awarding at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences, the publication says.

Most of the data U.S. News uses to arrive at its rankings are provided by the colleges themselves through an annual statistical survey.

For the "best value" category, U.S. News takes into account an institution's academic quality, as indicated by its 2017 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2015-2016 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.

For the ranking by high school counselors, U.S. News asks guidance counselors from a nationwide sampling of public high schools in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings that were gold, silver or bronze winners as well as from the largest private independent schools nationwide to tell them which national universities and national liberal arts colleges they think offer the best undergraduate education to their students.

For full information on U.S. News rankings, go to:

Wofford consistently is ranked or included in nationally published college guides, many of which include the college as a “best value.” Recently, The Princeton Review named Wofford among the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education in its 2017 edition of its flagship college guide, “The Best 381 Colleges.” Wofford has been on The Princeton Review’s list since the publication began 25 years ago. In 2015, The New York Times ranked Wofford #70 among “Top Colleges Doing the Most for Low-Income Students.”