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Millsaps Earns High Marks in Forbes, Fiske, Washington Monthly Rankings


Millsaps College is the best college in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama based on student satisfaction, postgraduate success, four-year graduation rate and competitive awards, according to Forbes' most recent list of America's 650 Top Colleges.

The rankings are designed to assist families in choosing a college based on getting the most quality for their tuition dollars.

"The Forbes' rankings are the only major rankings that evaluate colleges exclusively on outcomes such as student satisfaction, graduates' employment success and low student debt rather than inputs such as the size of the endowment or spending on academic programs," said Dr. S. Keith Dunn, senior vice president and dean of the College. "Millsaps is proud to be recognized for the positive impact the College has on its students."

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in conjunction with Forbes, compiled the list using five general categories: student satisfaction, which includes freshman-to-sophomore retention rates and faculty evaluations; postgraduate success, which measures alumni job placement, pay and professional achievement; student debt, with penalties for high debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate; and competitive awards, including prestigious scholarships such as the Rhodes, Truman and Marshall.

Millsaps is also among 21 private universities and colleges nationwide named a "best buy" in the 2013 Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Millsaps is the only institution in Mississippi to earn the "best buy" honor from the annual guide published by former New York Times Education Editor Edward Fiske. All of the best buy schools fall into the inexpensive or moderate price category, and most have four- or five-star academics ratings.

The guide names Millsaps as "the strongest liberal arts college in the deep, Deep South and by far the most progressive" and notes that what differentiates the school is "its focus on scholarly inquiry, spiritual growth, and community service, along with its Heritage Program, an interdisciplinary approach to world culture."

The Fiske Guide's recognition of Millsaps is affirmation of the value of a Millsaps education, Dunn said.

"The value of a Millsaps education makes it worth the hard-earned money our students and their families pay to come here," he said. "Their investment pays off with-rounded, broadly educated, and highly employable graduates."

The guide includes these comments from students:

  • "Millsaps is the perfect package," says a freshman, "strongly academic, small enough to build relationships, yet big-thinking enough to build the mind."
  • "The quality of teaching exceeds my expectations," says a student.
  • "We offer the sort of prestigious education generally only available in New England," a junior explains. "Millsaps is a magnet for accomplished students from strong backgrounds and the kind of college not usually found in the South."

Millsaps College leads the list of 13 United Methodist-related colleges named among the top 100 liberal arts colleges by Washington Monthly magazine.

The rankings are based on a school's contributions to the public good in three broad categories:

  • social mobility, which credits colleges for enrolling many low-income students and helping them earn degrees
  • research production, particularly at schools whose undergraduates go on to earn Ph.D.s
  • commitment to serve

Washington Monthly, which began the rankings in 2005, gives highest marks to colleges that are both effective and inexpensive.

Washington Monthly editors said in an online statement that they created their ranking system to offset rankings that push individual colleges to raise prices and only cater to the most privileged students.
 "The more expensive college becomes, the more students are encouraged to see higher education as a mere return on investment. The students in our best colleges are taught by example and design to look beyond themselves and give back."

United Methodist-related colleges and universities also in the top 100 liberal arts college rankings are Willamette University, Emory and Henry College, Wesleyan College, Claflin University, Allegheny College, Southwestern University, Dillard University, Albion College, Hendrix College, Drew University, Centenary College of Louisiana and Dickinson College.

The Washington Monthly ranking is another national award recognizing Millsaps and its extensive involvement in community service.

Earlier this year, Millsaps College for the fifth consecutive year was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, Millsaps was recognized as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the country for its community engagement work in and with the Midtown community, and was one of only five institutions nationwide recognized as a finalist for the 2012 Honor Roll's Special Focus Area distinction.