Linfield bests local competition

Kelley Hungerford – Assistant editor. Linfield is slashing expenditures, energy use and Oregon scholastic competition. Overall, however, educational corners have not been cut, as the college ranked No. 165 of 600 schools on Forbes’ America’s Best Colleges 2009 list Aug. 5.
Although it missed the top 25 percent by only 15 places, the Wildcats clawed up the list to surmount nationally renowned schools such as Johns Hopkins University (173) and Carnegie Mellon University (267) and dominate comparable area schools, including Willamette University (169) and Lewis & Clark College (232). In fact, the only Oregon schools that placed higher than Linfield were Reed College (44), George Fox University (58) and Pacific University (153).
But Linfield officials are disinterested to this fact.
“I think all of these lists are quite arbitrary,” president Tom Hellie said. “I don’t think it’s possible to rank colleges the way you would athletic teams.”
Hellie explained that ranking systems assume colleges are trying to be the same when they are, in fact, trying to stand out.
Dan Preston, dean of enrollment services, said the impact these listings have on students is hard to gauge.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not going to hurt us,” he said, adding that there may be no bolstering impact on enrollment at all.
But the president said he doesn’t think subjective college inventories have a great deal of effect.
“I guess the bottom line for me is I don’t pay a lot of attention to them,” he said.
Other Beaver State colleges that made the roster include Portland State University (457) and the University of Portland (522). The Ducks at the University of Oregon secured 297th place, and the Beavers of Oregon State University hold No. 467.
The top 20 institutions on the 600-school lineup are, not surprisingly, mostly Ivy League schools. The United States Military Academy, commonly known as West Point, prevailed at No. 1.
The America’s Best Colleges list is compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. The center scores the 600 undergraduate institutions in categories of quality of education, student experience and student achievement. Twenty-five percent of each score comes from 4 million student evaluations, another 25 percent from post-graduate success and 20 percent from average student debt four years after graduating. The rest comes from the likelihood of graduating in four years, as well as student and faculty awards.
According to the Forbes Web site, these standings represent approximately the top 15 percent of undergraduate institutions in the United States.
What this list omitted is best educational bang for the ever-growing tuition buck. In a separate lineup, America’s Best College Buys, the CCAP ranked 100 of the nation’s best-value schools. The only Oregon school that qualified was UO, at No. 86.
For a complete ranking and more information, check out www.forbes.com.

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