Bethel College vaulted to the top of a national ranking, sitting at No. 4 in the “Washington Monthly” list of “Best Baccalaureate Colleges 2012-13.”

?“We are certainly honored by such recognition and humbled by these rankings that are based upon the achievements of our people, our students and graduates,” said Bethel President Perry D. White. “It is nice to be part of a conversation that focuses on the success of matriculates to an institution of higher education, rather than simply the profile of the students recruited.”

?“Washington Monthly” groups institutions into four areas as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, including baccalaureate colleges, which according to Carnegie comprise “schools that focus on undergraduate education but offer fewer than half of their degrees in the liberal arts.”

?“Washington Monthly” rankings are based on “contribution to the public good” in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students); research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs); and service (encouraging students to give something back to their community and country).

?Bethel appeared in the publication’s rankings for the first time last year, in the “Liberal Arts Colleges” category at No. 110 out of 249. This year Bethel was fourth out of 352, behind Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University, Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University and Tuskegee (Ala.) University.

?Tabor College of Hillsboro, ranked 51st and was second after Bethel for all Kansas colleges and universities in all areas in the “Washington Monthly” rankings.