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Ridgewater ranked 41st among nation's community colleges

WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College was ranked 41 out of 1,655 community colleges in the country in a recent list released by Washington Monthly magazine.

About 42 percent of U.S. college students attend a community college, which is often seen as a low-cost option for many students. Ridgewater serves 6,000 students on campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson.

Ridgewater College was ranked number 41 out of the 1,655 community colleges in the nation.

The Washington Monthly's ranking is based on U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion, and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. The survey includes responses on teaching practices, student workload, interaction with faculty, academic challenge, student support and student effort.

"This ranking is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff to ensuring that our students at Ridgewater College are successful," said Ridgewater President Douglas Allen in a news release from the college. "I'm honored to be a small part of an institution so committed to student success."

Few publications aside from Washington Monthly acknowledge a group of schools who are educating more than two out of every five college students, according to a release from the magazine. "While (U.S. News & World Report) glorifies schools that promise to initiate their students into the elite, the best community colleges serve a far more important mission ... admission into the middle class," said Washington Monthly's web editor Daniel Luzer said in the release.

"The success of our students is more important than ever," Allen said. "At a time when a college degree is essential to entering the middle class, Ridgewater College offers a clear and affordable path to education and employment for our students."