Black Colleges and Universities Fare Well in Washington Monthly’s College Rankings

The magazine Washington Monthly has released its new rankings of liberal arts colleges and universities. The magazine’s rankings are markedly different from those compiled by other ratings organizations, most notably U.S. News & World Report. The editors say that their rankings are “a measure of not just what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country.” The editors go on to say that “in our eyes, America’s best colleges are those that work hardest to help economically disadvantaged students, contribute new scientific discoveries, and emphasize the obligations students have to serve their communities.” Thus, factors in the Washington Monthly rankings include the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants, the number of students who go on to serve in the Peace Corps and ROTC programs, and the percentage of their budgets dedicated to research.

The Washington Monthly rankings for the best liberal arts colleges include schools such as Amherst, Williams, Haverford, and Swarthmore that are also included in the lists compiled by U.S. News and other services. However, unlike U.S. News, several black colleges rank very high in the Washington Monthly ratings. Morehouse College in Atlanta sits in the 14th position, ahead of such schools as Middlebury, Vassar, Oberlin, and Pomona. Spelman College ranks in 21st place in the Washington Monthly list. Also in the top 50 liberal arts colleges, according to Washington Monthly, are Dillard University, Fisk University, and Tougaloo College.

In the university rankings, three campuses of the University of California occupy the top three positions. In what may be a surprise to readers, historically black South Carolina State University ranks sixth in the Washington Monthly tabulations, ahead of Harvard and the other Ivies, MIT, and the University of Michigan.

Jackson State University comes in at 21st in the Washington Monthly ratings, just ahead of Yale. Howard University, Florida A&M University, and Clark Atlanta University all rank in the top 75.