Duane Bonifer  |  Published September 17, 2023

Monmouth a College of Social Mobility

College Named a Top 30 College for Social Mobility by ‘U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges’ Guide.

Editor’s Note: On Oct. 27, U.S. News & World Report corrected its rankings because of “an anomaly in the code used to output the 2024 Best Colleges rankings.” As a result of correcting the anomaly, Monmouth’s rank changed from No. 135 to No. 129 in its National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College is one of the best colleges in the country when it comes to providing students a path to social mobility.

In the 2024 issue of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide, released Sept. 18, Monmouth is ranked No. 29 among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the category “Top Performers on Social Mobility.” Overall, Monmouth is ranked No. 129 in the publication’s National Liberal Arts Colleges category. 

The guide’s social mobility ranking evaluates a school’s graduation rates of students who receive a federal Pell Grant compared to those students who did not receive one. Students who receive a Pell Grant display exceptional financial need as determined by the U.S. Department of Education when the student files the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid application.

Among Monmouth’s freshman class, 45% of the students received a Pell grant. Overall, 37% of the College’s student body received a Pell grant.

“Everyone associated with Monmouth is very proud of the College’s No. 29 ‘Social Mobility’ ranking among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings,” said Monmouth President Clarence Wyatt. “Monmouth College exists to help students realize all the potential inherent in them — especially so the large number of first-generation and Pell Grant-eligible students who come to the College. This ranking powerfully affirms the way in which Monmouth College changes for the better the arc of a student’s life. I am grateful to all of the faculty, staff, trustees and supporters who support this mission and who make this recognition possible.”

Monmouth also prepares its graduates for professional success. For the last five years, at least 98% of Monmouth graduates have reported that they have either started working in a career or been enrolled in graduate or professional school.

“This ranking powerfully affirms the way in which Monmouth College changes for the better the arc of a student’s life. I am grateful to all of the faculty, staff, trustees and supporters who support this mission and who make this recognition possible.”
– Clarence Wyatt, President

Monmouth Vice President for Enrollment Management Stephanie Levenson said that the College’s latest national ranking demonstrates, combined with graduates’ success, why Monmouth is a good investment.

“We know that students and families are attracted to colleges that provide students a transformative educational experience that prepares them for successful careers, and Monmouth does that exceedingly well,” said Levenson. “Monmouth is a college of high opportunity and high achievement that changes the lives of the students and families it serves.”

One of those Monmouth alumni whose family was shaped by the College is Byron Sondgeroth of Peoria, Illinois.

A 1988 alumnus, Sondgeroth was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Since then, his three sons have gone on to earn a Monmouth degree.

“I have always believed that education is that great equalizer because it gives people an opportunity to lift themselves up and improve their socioeconomic status,” said Sondgeroth, who earned a degree in Spanish from Monmouth and then enjoyed a nearly three-decade career in education. “Beyond a great education, the leadership opportunities that Monmouth offered me on campus set me up to believe that I could move beyond teaching and become an administrator.”

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