Sterling College was ranked No. 13 in the Liberal Arts Colleges category of the recently released 2018 Washington Monthly College Rankings. This is the first time the environmental stewardship college has appeared in the prestigious ranking of U.S. colleges and universities.
Washington Monthly rates “schools on three equally weighted criteria: social mobility, research and public service. Instead of rewarding schools that reject 95 percent of applicants, we give high marks to colleges that enroll lots of low-income students and help them graduate and earn a good living without too much debt,” wrote Kevin Carey, director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation and guest editor of the college guide. “We give extra weight to colleges that send their graduates out into the world to serve the community at large.”
Sterling’s high placement in the rankings is supported by its integration of community service into the curriculum and mission to educate and graduate environmental stewards. 80% of the College’s alumni report that their employment is related to their area of study, and 90% report that they are meeting their career goals.
Nearly 100% of the current student body receives Sterling grant funding, and the average institutional grant in 2018-19 is $23,100. The College is one of nine federally-recognized work colleges, and all Sterling students participate in the Work Program to earn money to help cover their college costs. Sterling alumni complete their degree with 50% less loan debt than the national average.
The College’s mission is to inspire lifelong environmental stewardship through an experiential liberal arts education that prepares students to become passionate, skilled and responsible leaders in life after Sterling. “Providing access to that education is a priority for us,” said Sterling College President Matthew Derr. “Sterling students make an impact while they are here studying, then graduate and go on to strengthen the communities in which they live. We are honored to be listed in Washington Monthly’s ranking that highlights colleges for their real-world value and acknowledges their graduates’ meaningful contributions to society.”
For each year’s rankings, Washington Monthly considers more than 1,400 four-year schools within the 50 states. Sterling is one of two Vermont colleges to make the top 20, appearing along with No. 9 Middlebury College.
The Washington Monthly No. 13 ranking adds to a recent list of honors for Sterling, which includes a gold rating from AASHE’s STARS program and Top Performer status in food/dining (No. 1), curriculum (No. 3) and overall for a baccalaureate institution (No. 2) in AASHE’s 2018 Sustainable Campus Index. The College is also ranked No. 11 in Sierra Magazine’s Cool Schools 2018.