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WIU: Best Bang for the Buck, Top Master's School, Best for Student Voting

September 10, 2020

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – For the eighth consecutive year, Western Illinois University has been listed among the best of the best, and one of the best colleges for student voting by the Washington Monthly.

This year, WIU, ranked at number 12, is listed in the top 25 of "Best Bang for the Buck" Midwestern schools, according to the 2020 Washington Monthly College Guide, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, WIU is also the highest ranked Illinois public master's institution out of 614 nationwide in the Washington Monthly's Top Master's Universities category. Western is ranked 28th, up from 37 last year.

"One of our goals is to make a Western Illinois University education as affordable as we can. Access to higher education is essential for the residents of our state, and those beyond our state's borders. We've recently established numerous new scholarships and incentives to ensure that our students have that access to a quality academic experience," said Interim President Martin Abraham. "While affordability is important for students and families, so is the availability of progressive academic programs, and we are pleased to provide both. The support and resources we offer our student body puts Western far ahead of other public institutions as our students graduate with less debt and are well-prepared compete with anyone, from anywhere, in the workforce."

According to the Washington Monthly, institutions are ranked for their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and doctorates) and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). Washington Monthly also rates colleges that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

WIU is also one of 157 schools nationwide to be named to the Washington Monthly's "Best Colleges for Student Voting" honor roll. The criteria to be named to the list includes a commitment to increasing voter registration and voting percentages.

"Voting rates among young people lag behind those of older cohorts," said WIU Political Science and History Chair Keith Boeckelman. "Attending college can make a strong, positive difference in the likelihood of casting a ballot, however. Western takes its responsibility for promoting civic engagement and voting seriously, and I am excited that this commitment has been recognized by WIU's appearance on the Washington Monthly's '2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll.' During this fall's presidential election, Western will renew its commitment to enhancing student voting."

To establish the set of colleges included in the rankings, Washington Monthly started with colleges in the 50 states that are listed in the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Then, the list is narrowed further to include only the schools that have a 2018 Carnegie basic classification of doctoral, master's, and baccalaureate colleges; that are not exclusively graduate colleges; that participate in federal financial aid programs; and that had not announced a Fall 2020 closure as of July 1, 2020. Along with other factors that excluded colleges, the final sample of 1,469 colleges including in the 2020 guide includes public, private nonprofit and for-profit institutions.

The complete Washington Monthly 2020 rankings can be found at

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations