Westminster Earns Top Spot in Pa. Social Mobility Rankings

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Westminster College is one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the country for enabling students to get ahead in the world, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2023 Best Colleges ranking released Sept. 12. Westminster earned the No. 9 spot in the nation in the Top Performers on Social Mobility list, while also ranking No. 1 in the state of Pennsylvania.

According to the U.S. News & World Report website, economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics.

“Westminster’s doors are open to students from a wide range of backgrounds, and we are committed to supporting them through to graduation,” said Westminster College President Kathy Brittain Richardson. “We are proud to be recognized at the national level for the diligence and dedication of our students, faculty and staff.”

 The Top Performers list assesses how well colleges and universities graduate economically disadvantaged students. The social mobility ranking is computed by aggregating two ranking factors that measure graduation rates of Pell-awarded students: Pell Grant graduation rates and Pell Grant graduation rate performance.

Last year the average graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients was 55%, while Westminster’s rate was 69%, 14 points above the national average.

Recipients of Pell Grants, a form of need-based federal financial aid, 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.

This is the fourth consecutive year Westminster has been recognized by U.S. News as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country for economically disadvantaged students. Westminster has jumped 10 slots since its first showing in 2019 (No. 19). In 2020, Westminster was ranked 14, and last year Westminster took the No. 10 overall spot on U.S. News’ list.

 For the 2023 edition, Westminster moved up another notch nationally and earned the highest marks in Social Mobility among 21 Pennsylvania liberal arts colleges that were recognized on the list.

Pictured at top: Old Main at Westminster College, which  has been ranked by U.S. News as the top college for social mobility in Pennsylvania.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.