Rankings show CSB, SJU to be among top liberal arts schools

Campus & Community

September 29, 2020

It’s an autumn fixture – like the changing of the leaves and the slight chill in the air.

Every fall, a number of publications and online sources rank colleges and universities across the nation.

Within the various national liberal arts rankings, however, one thing is certain: Both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University typically rank among the top liberal arts schools in the nation.

Here’s a look at some of those ranking for this year:

U.S. News and World Report   

The U.S. News rankings are like the Rose Bowl college football game – the granddaddy of all college rankings.

In its 2021 rankings of national liberal arts schools, CSB is ranked 96th nationally (tied with four other schools), and SJU is ranked 102nd nationally (tied with nine other schools).

Both CSB (68th) and SJU (73rd) are listed among the best value schools, and “A-Plus Schools for B Students” (the schools aren’t ranked numerically in this poll).

The U.S. News rankings of National Liberal Arts Colleges focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education and schools that award at least 50% of their degrees in the arts and sciences. Changes to the rankings methodology this year include the introduction of two outcome measures pertaining to graduate indebtedness, for a total of 17 factors. To make room, it gave less weight in the rankings to SAT/ACT scores, high school class standing and alumnae/i giving rates.

Finally, CSB is ranked 75th as a best social mobility school. This indicator measures how well schools graduate students who received federal Pell Grants. Students receiving these grants typically come from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000.

Washington Monthly 

The  Washington Monthly 2020 College Guide and Rankings bills itself as “the socially conscious alternative to U.S. News & World Report. While U.S. News rewards colleges and universities for their wealth, exclusivity and prestige, the Monthly ranks them on how well they serve the country as a whole — by recruiting and graduating non-wealthy students, encouraging student activism and producing research and technologies that create high-paying jobs and address threats like climate change.”

In these rankings, CSB was ranked No. 31 among national liberal arts schools and SJU No. 60. CSB was the second-highest Minnesota liberal arts college, trailing only No. 19 Carleton College.

Washington Monthly also found CSB to be No. 8 and SJU No. 62 in its “Best Bang for the Buck” category among 372 colleges in the Midwest. CSB was No. 1 among Minnesota colleges.

Princeton Review  

CSB/SJU (listed jointly) was one of the 386 schools listed in the 29th annual guide. Unlike other rankings, the Princeton Review does not rank schools in numerical order. Instead, its list appears in alphabetical order.

The Princeton Review college rankings are entirely based on surveys of college students, who rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences exclusively for this project. The ranking lists are based on surveys of 143,000 students at the 386 colleges in the book.

College Consensus 

Both schools were listed in three categories by College Consensus.

Among its best national liberal arts schools, CSB was No. 62 and SJU was No. 89 among 100 schools ranked. 

CSB was No. 13 and SJU No. 25 among the best Catholic schools in the country. CSB and SJU were Nos. 1-2 in Minnesota in this category. 

Within Minnesota, CSB was sixth and SJU 10th among all state institutions.

College Consensus uses comprehensive methodology which allows every institution to demonstrate what they do best. Students who are actually present day to day have as much say about their college as experts who have never visited, making sure that all of those perspectives mean an even playing field for every college and university.

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