Houghton has been named a “Best National Liberal Arts College” in the U.S. News and World Report 2017 college ranking. This ranking considers freshman retention and graduation rates, average financial aid, alumni donations, and post-graduate performance as some of the most important indicators of academic excellence.

In order to be ranked as a national liberal arts college, schools must award at least half its degrees in the humanities and sciences and place a strong emphasis on excellence in undergraduate education. Only 239 colleges in the nation meet this qualification. Of the four Western New York colleges included in the top national tier, Houghton ranked second.

Of the 117 members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, only five earned a place in the report’s top tier. Houghton ranked third highest among these five schools, reinforcing the college as one of the nation’s top Christian liberal arts institutions. Houghton’s admissions department credits this status to a campus-wide attitude of intellectual fellowship.

“We are pleased to be, once again, ranked among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in U.S. News,” said Dr. Shirley Mullen, president of Houghton College. “For the sake of families exploring the college landscape, we are grateful for this external recognition of Houghton’s high quality, value and national reputation.”

The college’s 11 percent international students also earned it a top spot on the “Foreign Student Factor” ranking, an acknowledgement of Houghton’s continued dedication to a globally diverse campus population. This year Houghton welcomed its largest incoming class in five years, drawing students from 17 countries.

U.S. News and World Report takes into account a broad range of factors when determining each college’s educational quality and long-term value. According to the U.S. News website, “The indicators include input measures that reflect schools’ student bodies, faculties and resources. They also include outcome measures that signal how well institutions are engaging and educating their students.”