August 27, 1997

Middlebury College Ranked Eighth in US News Survey: College 18th among "Best College Values"

In its 11th annual "America's Best Colleges" issue, US News names Middlebury College as eighth in overall quality among the nation's national liberal arts colleges. The national news magazine's college rankings are derived from information collected annually from surveys sent to a total of 1400 four-year schools. The 1998 rankings are based on data for the 1996-1997 school year.

Commenting on Middlebury's US News ranking, President John M. McCardell, Jr. said, "There is legitimate commentary that questions the ability of any survey to evaluate the quality of an institution with the precision that US News would seem to claim. The editors of US News, however, do make a sincere attempt to base their rankings on the best information they can obtain." McCardell said the survey helps to give the college a general picture of how well it is doing in relation to other institutions in the country. "We are gratified to find that what we at Middlebury already know about the high quality of this college is borne out by an analysis of the data collected by US News," he said.

Middlebury demonstrated particular strength in the survey's evaluation of admissions selectivity. Middlebury's acceptance of 29 percent of its applicants places it among the most selective colleges in this category. Only Amherst and Williams among national liberal arts colleges showed greater admissions selectivity.

President McCardell, noting the importance of admissions selectivity as an indication of quality, said that Middlebury's showing in this respect placed it ahead of the highest-ranked institution in the category, Swarthmore, which accepted 30 percent of its applicants. "This ranking, based upon facts and not opinions, tells me all I need to know about the College's reputation in the area that matters most, namely, the line at the Admissions Office," McCardell said. The magazine's data also show that Middlebury's SAT score ranges placed it among the top four liberal arts colleges in the country in that category.

Middlebury is also listed by US News as one of only 21 institutions that enroll significant numbers of international students. Middlebury is shown as having an international student population that constitutes eight percent of the total student body.

On September 8, US News will publish a ranking of "best college values," which considers an institution's quality ranking in the "Best Colleges" issue in relation to the impact of its tuition on students receiving financial aid grants. According to Middlebury College director of public affairs Phil Benoit, Middlebury's rank of 18th on the "best values" list demonstrates the generous size of the college's financial aid grants and indicates that US News considers the college to be worth the money it costs to attend. "Many schools like Middlebury do not even make this list," Benoit said. "Middlebury overcomes the impact of its relatively high tuition, which keeps some similar institutions off the list, by the combination of its overall quality and the generosity of the financial aid grants it awards to students who can't pay the full cost of attending," he said.