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UMM Ranked Among Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges by Washington Monthly

Added on: September 13, 2013

Washington Monthly's Best Liberal Arts CollegesMACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias is one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation, according to Washington Monthly magazine. UMM ranked number 99 out of a list of the top 255 liberal arts colleges in the magazine’s annual College Guide and Rankings.

Unlike other ranking systems, the magazine evaluates and ranks the top schools based on their “contribution to the public good.”

According to its web site, Washington Monthly evaluates each school’s contribution based on three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

UMM’s strongest category is social mobility, where it ranks 7th in the nation. Sixty-nine percent of UMM students receive Pell grants, need-based federal funding for lower-income undergraduates, which drives the net price of a year at UMM down to just $8,579. As a small rural public college with a high acceptance rate, UMM also enrolls a large percentage of students with relatively low SAT scores. UMM's high ranking in this category illustrates the college's success at helping lower-income students achieve a college degree, despite the challenges faced by many of those students.

“UMM faculty and staff are known for their dedication to supporting our students, and they work hard to meet the unique needs of each individual student," says President Cynthia Huggins. "We like to joke that UMM students who try to hide or be anonymous are just wasting their time. But the reality is that we take our mission as a small, public regional college—and our dedication to access and affordability—very seriously.”

The University also scored 40th in the percentage of federal work-study funds spent on service.

Washington Monthly’s list provides an alternative to traditional college rankings, which often end up capturing the “prestige” of colleges, rather than their ability to improve social mobility, promote public service, and generate high quality research.

“We designed the Washington Monthly college rankings to embody the American higher education compact at the institutional level,” say the magazine’s editors. “Instead of lauding colleges for closing their doors to all but an elite few, we give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate, and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend.”

UMM was one of just five Maine colleges, and the only public, to make the list. The others were Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, and College of the Atlantic.

To view the full list of colleges included in this year's Washington Monthly rankings, click here.


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