Salem College has been ranked 24th among the nation’s liberal arts colleges by Washington Monthly, receiving high marks for its success in recruiting and graduating academically talented students who go on to do well in the job market.
Salem is in good company: North Carolina’s Davidson College ranked 20th and leading women’s colleges Bryn Mawr and Barnard came in seventh and 22nd, respectively.
“We are thrilled Salem College has been recognized for graduating young women who go on to great success in graduate schools, in the job market and in giving back to their communities,” said Salem President Sandra J. Doran.
The Washington Monthly 2018 College Guide and Rankings assessed four-year colleges on three equally rated criteria: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).
One measure of the success of Salem graduates: the school is 49th in the nation among liberal arts schools in earnings by former students who received financial aid. The survey-based the ranking on the median salary graduates bring home 10 years from the date they began college.
Salem ranked fifth in the percentage of Pell Grant students it graduates, far outpacing the national average in the low teens. And first-generation students thrive at Salem, which ranks 12th in graduating these family pioneers.
Colleges that had higher Pell than non-Pell graduation rates received a positive score on the measure. Washington Monthly used national data for the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants — and College Scorecard data on the percentage of first-generation students — to get at colleges’ commitments to educating a diverse group of students.
Director of Admissions Audrey Gauss said the college plans to open its doors to more students with financial need through a new initiative to supplement the cost of tuition. Beginning in spring semester 2019, the college will pay the balance of tuition for all students who have a zero to $5000 expected family contribution in Pell Grant money or state financial aid.
“This is another way we can continue to provide students who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education with the means to reach their goals and lessen the likelihood that they will be saddled with school loans,” Gauss said. “We’ve demonstrated that our students – regardless of their financial background when they arrive — go on to be successful citizens and we want to continue to build on that.”