WILLMAR — For the second consecutive year, Ridgewater College has ranked first among Minnesota’s community colleges in an analysis by a website that acts as a clearinghouse for people researching schools.

The recent review by www.niche.com also ranked Ridgewater in the top 20 nationally. The college was rated 17 among 853 colleges.

The ranking is based on an analysis of academic, financial and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education, along with millions of reviews from students and alumni, according to the website.

Ridgewater also ranked third for specific comparisons in best value, academics, student life and safety. It ranked fourth in the category of best professors.

“It is great to see our college and the Minnesota State system once again get national and state-wide recognition,” said Ridgewater College President Dr. Craig Johnson in a news release. “We know that our college provides students with a great value proposition for an education option, offering a low tuition rate with strong faculty, small classes and quality programs that have a great track for student employment and job success. It is especially encouraging to see that we get a very high rating for safety, as we are doing all we can during the COVID-19 crisis to make sure our campuses are as safe and secure as possible for our students and employees.”

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Evaluators gave Ridgewater College a B-plus grade overall and gave it separate grades of A-plus for safety, A for student life and Bs for professors, diversity, and value. Location received a B-minus.

Comments from more than 100 student and alumni reviews included this comment: I take all my classes online. I work full time and take my classes after hours. It's very accommodating. I can reach out to my professors if I have questions and will hear back fairly quickly. Usually that same night.”