The College received special recognition from U.S. News & World Report as a top performer in social mobility. Social mobility gauges a graduate’s ability to move up the economic ladder. To measure this, U.S. News compared the graduation rates of students who receive federal Pell Grants—given to students whose household income is less than $50,000 annually—with students who did not receive them.
According to U.S. News, economically disadvantaged students are less likely to complete college and earn a degree, but some colleges like Whittier are more successful at ensuring students get to the finish line successfully and graduate. More than 45 percent of Whittier students are the first in their families to attend college and nearly 40 percent are Pell-eligible.
U.S. News also ranked Whittier as the 17th most diverse liberal arts college in the United States, and 6th in California.
Whittier is a model for the nation in providing college access to students of all backgrounds and promoting the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, about 50% of Whittier’s students identify as Latinx, and students of color constitute roughly 68% of the student body.
Overall, Whittier College was ranked 107 nationally in the U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 Best Colleges ranking. Now in its 38th year, the rankings evaluate more than 1,450 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality.
Moreover, Whittier made The Princeton Review's list of the top 126 higher education institutions in the West. Only about 14% of the nation’s 2,700 four-year colleges are profiled in The Princeton Review guide. Colleges for the book are chosen based on data annually collected from surveys of 2,000 college administrators about their institutions’ academic offerings. The company also reviews data from its surveys of college students attending the schools.
As in previous years, Whittier College professors received top marks from students surveyed. “Discussions are highly encouraged and interesting debates fostered and assigned papers ‘always force you to stretch your knowledge,’” reads one entry. The College was also praised for providing a good breadth of courses, Whittier "is a great school for those who are trying to figure out what they want to do or those who want to create their own major.”
For its part, the Washington Monthy rates schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). Whittier ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the country.