Friday, August 05, 2011

Saint Mary’s named on Forbes list of ‘America’s Best Colleges’

WINONA, Minn. —’s 2011 list of “America’s Best Colleges” ranks Saint Mary’s University as No. 418 out of 650 of “the best public and private colleges and universities —from the student's point of view.”

SMU is also listed as No. 326 in the Forbes ranking of “private colleges,” No. 139 in “research universities,” and No. 105 “in the Midwest.”

The fourth-annual list of “America's Best Colleges,” compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, ranks a select group of more than 650 undergraduate institutions — the top 20% of all undergraduate institutions – based on the quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students, and how much they achieve.

The rankings are based on five general criteria: Post-Graduate Success (30%), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; Student Satisfaction (27.5%), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates; Debt (17.5%), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year Graduation Rate (17.5%); and Competitive Awards (7.5%), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright. states, “To our way of thinking, a good college is one that meets student needs. While other college rankings are based in large part on school reputation as evaluated by college administrators, we focus on things that directly concern incoming students: Will my courses be interesting? Is it likely I will graduate in four years? Will I incur a ton of debt getting my degree? And once I get out of school, will I get a good job?”

Jim Bedtke, vice president for the College, said he is pleased that Saint Mary’s is on the Forbes list. “It shows that our students feel enriched by the experiences they have here, and that they graduate and go on to have successful careers and be productive members of their communities,” Betke said. “The Forbes listing reinforces positive reports from other student satisfaction surveys, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Princeton Review.”

To view the entire list, go to To view Saint Mary’s page, go to