Erskine College and Theological Seminary has moved up in Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges list from its 2011 ranking of 286 to 137 this year.
Fourth among schools in South Carolina, besting both Clemson University (218) and the University of South Carolina (344), Erskine is third among the ranked member schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, behind Wheaton College (99) and Westmont College (103) and second among NCAA Division II schools, behind Hillsdale College in Michigan (82).
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Christie is pleased with Erskine’s rise.
“Of course this is great news for Erskine, and might be helpful to some prospective students and their families,” he said.
“It also should be encouraging to current students and their families, to faculty, staff, alumni—to anyone who genuinely cares about Erskine and our trajectory for the future.”
Athletic Director Mark Peeler, in a posting on the school’s athletics site, said, “There are over 300 NCAA Division II schools, so being #2 is quite an honor.”
He noted that there are no other NCAA Division II schools in the Southeast region ranked in Forbes’ top 200.
“Erskine is a unique place with high-quality academics, strong Christian commitment, and intensely competitive athletics,” Peeler said. “It is exciting that Forbes has acknowledged Erskine for its uniqueness and excellence among the nation’s finest colleges.”
Forbes ranks 650 of the more than 6,000 undergraduate institutions in the country. The rankings are compiled for Forbes by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP).
According to Forbes’ website, the rankings “focus on the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low levels of debt.”
The Forbes rankings are based on five general categories.
“Postgraduate success,” evaluating “alumni pay and prominence,” accounts for 32.5 percent.
“Student satisfaction,” examining professor evaluations and freshman- to sophomore-year retention rates, accounts for 27.5 percent.
The “debt” category , 17.5 percent, “penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates.”
“Four-year graduation rate” and “competitive awards” each account for 11.25 percent, with the latter category rewarding schools “whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright, or go on to earn a Ph.D.”