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F&M, Elizabethtown, Millersville and Lancaster Bible rank among top 2020 colleges [according to U.S. News, WSJ reports]

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The latest batch of rankings in higher education paint Franklin & Marshall College as a top-tier liberal arts college and Millersville University as one of the top public colleges in the region.

F&M, Millersville, Elizabethtown College and Lancaster Bible College all were ranked in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, released Monday, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, unveiled last week.

F&M, a 2,300-student private liberal arts college in Lancaster city, earned high marks due to its overall value, academic spending per student ($28,000) and small student-faculty ratio (9:1).

Meanwhile, Lancaster Bible College, a faith-based private institution with about 1,700 undergraduate students, was recognized by students surveyed by the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education as being the “right choice.”

Below are detailed rankings — but first, here’s what you should know about how these schools were ranked.

For the U.S. News rankings, more than 1,900 colleges and universities were surveyed. Those that responded — around 1,400 — were separated into four categories: national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges.

F&M and Elizabethtown were ranked among 223 schools in the national liberal arts category. Millersville and Lancaster Bible were ranked among 179 schools in the regional universities north category.

Within those were subcategories such as value, innovative programs and social mobility (how well schools graduated low-income students).

The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked about 1,000 colleges and universities. Top-ranked schools were given an overall score out of 100, a student outcomes score out of 40, an academic resources score out of 30, an engagement score out of 20 and an environment score out of 10.

Schools also received ratings, out of 10, in other categories — “right choice,” “inspiring” and “worth the cost” — based on student surveys.

Students were asked three questions: “If you could start over, would you still choose this college?” “Does our college provide an environment where you feel you are surrounded by exceptional students who inspire and motivate you?” And “Do you think your college will be worth what you and your family are paying?”

Here are the highlights from each college’s ranking. (Note: Low-ranked schools were placed in a range rather than a specific ranking.)

Elizabethtown

Students at Elizabethtown College walk to classes in this file photo.

Elizabethtown College

U.S. News

— National liberal arts colleges: 105th (tie).

— Value: 76th.

— Social mobility: 160th (tie).

— Undergraduate engineering program: 143rd (tie).

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

— Overall: 58.5 (243rd).

— Outcomes: 19.3 (289th).

— Resources: 16.7 (229th).

— Engagement: 15.4 (401-500).

— Environment: 2.4 (past 600)

— Right choice: 7.3.

— Inspiring: 7.8.

— Worth the cost: 6.4.

“It is an honor for Elizabethtown College to be recognized in the national liberal arts, best value schools, and top performer on social mobility lists by U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best College rankings,” Elizabethtown President Cecilia McCormick said. “Most notably, we’ve advanced more than five places in the Best Value Schools list highlighting our commitment to providing a transformative educational experience at an affordable cost to our students. ... Our rankings demonstrate our commitment to provide all of our students an exceptional education enriched with opportunities to expand their knowledge, gain real-world experience, and grow as individuals for lifelong success."

Neo-classical F&M 2.jpg

Hensel Hall, a performance center on Franklin & Marshall College's campus.

Franklin & Marshall College

U.S. News

— National liberal arts colleges: 38th.

— Value: 35th.

— Most innovative: 30th (tie).

— Undergraduate teaching program: 60th (tie).

— First-year experiences: 88th (tie).

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

— Overall: 69.6 (89th).

— Outcomes: 25.8 (98th).

— Resources: 21.6 (79th).

— Engagement: 15.6 (401-500).

— Environment: 4.5 (401-500).

— Right choice: 7.7.

— Inspiring: 7.7.

— Worth the cost: 7.3.

“We are gratified that Franklin & Marshall College continues to be recognized among the finest liberal arts colleges in the nation, and pleased that the national media is highlighting the incredible work F&M is doing with best-in-class undergraduate teaching, student experience, innovation, and overall value,” F&M President Barbara Altmann said. “The rankings are a popular but imperfect measure, so I always recommend to students and their parents that they look for the best fit, not the best rank. ... We have so many great institutions of higher learning in our country, of all different kinds -- and about a dozen right here in Lancaster County.”

Bible College

Students at Lancaster Bible College walk between classes on the school's campus October 6, 2017.

Lancaster Bible College

U.S. News

— Regional Universities North: 129-170.

— Social mobility: 29th (tie).

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

— Overall: 40.3-45.1 (601-800).

— Right choice: 9.

— Inspiring: 8.3.

— Worth the cost: 8.7.

“No matter where Lancaster Bible College lands in the rankings, we are grateful as an institution to be in the company of such prestigious colleges and universities,” LBC President Peter W. Teague said. “We have remained missionally steadfast to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview since 1933, and our students and alumni tell us often that we have done just that. I am profoundly grateful for the ways which our faculty and staff positively impact our students and graduates.”

Millersville University

Students walk between classes on the Millersville University campus Thursday October 18, 2018. 

Millersville University

U.S. News

— Regional Universities North: 94th (tie).

— Public schools: 24th.

— Social mobility: 124th (tie).

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

— Overall: 40.3-45.1 (601-800).

— Right choice: 7.7.

— Inspiring: 7.2.

— Worth the cost: 7.4.

“These rankings confirm what we’ve known for some time,” Millersville President Daniel Wubah said. “Millersville University and our students continue to perform admirably when compared with our peers. We are proud that 11% of our new freshmen and transfers this year earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, and more than 40% of our incoming freshmen have a 3.5 GPA or higher. It is our outstanding students and dedicated faculty who make Millersville University a fine institution.”