Valparaiso University is the No. 4 master’s university in the nation, as announced today in Washington Monthly’s annual college rankings. According to the magazine’s system, colleges are ranked by their contribution to the country, and it recognizes institutions that provide an outstanding education while maintaining affordability.

Criteria include cutting-edge research and scholarship, recruiting and graduating low-income students and civic engagement, and the rankings include community service hours relative to school size. Valpo students annually perform more than 220,000 hours of community outreach and service learning, and the University regularly appears in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

In addition to Valpo’s high ranking for contribution to public good, Washington Monthly also honored the University as one of the top 30 institutions in the Midwest with its “Best Bang for The Buck” list.

Affordability is a key component of the Washington Monthly rankings. The magazine reports that many colleges and universities fail to enroll low-income students seeking a bachelor’s degree and the economic mobility it provides. The rankings consider the number of Pell Grant recipients, graduation rates and financial assistance.

Valpo annually awards more than $100 million in financial assistance to all students from all sources, including scholarships, grants, loans and federal work study. The University’s student loan default rate of 3 percent is well below the national average of 13.7.

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