Gustavus Leads in Multiple College RankingsThe College is first in Minnesota in several key areas and among the best liberal arts colleges in the U.S.
Posted on September 20th, 2023 by

With the advent of autumn comes the new school year’s higher education rankings, and in 2023-24 Gustavus has achieved significant recognition from national publications and organizations across a variety of measures.

“As high school juniors and seniors begin to make their decisions this fall about where they’d like to earn their college degrees, these impressive rankings demonstrate the Gustavus commitment to attracting and educating academically accomplished students with diverse talents, interests, backgrounds, and economic circumstances,” said Gustavus President Rebecca Bergman.

These rankings affirm the College’s dedication to academic achievement, a vibrant campus life, successful professional outcomes, and accessibility and affordability relative to peer institutions, all of which are areas of major differentiation among colleges and universities. The highlights of this year’s rankings include (some links require a subscription):

  • U.S. News & World Report’s closely watched metrics name Gustavus the #67 national liberal arts college—the Gusties’ highest mark since 2015 and a 14-slot jump from last year. The publication further breaks out its rankings into the categories of Best Value, which refers to schools that are above average academically and cost “considerably less” than comparable institutions; and Social Mobility, which gauges how well schools serve student populations that are economically disadvantaged. This year, Gustavus ranked #40 among liberal arts colleges in Best Value and #22 in Social Mobility—including #1 in Minnesota. Both measures underscore the College’s commitment to making a Gustavus education affordable for the broadest range of students. 
  • In another example of the College’s economic diversity, the New York Times places Gustavus at #71 nationwide, including #43 among private schools and #1 among all Minnesota colleges, public or private. The Times gauges this by the percentage of first-year students who receive Pell Grants (25% at Gustavus).
  • The Wall Street Journal’s College Pulse rankings measure conventional metrics but add—and stress—two key differentiators: How much will a given college improve its students’ chances of graduating on time? And how much will it improve the salaries they earn after receiving their diplomas? This year, the WSJ puts Gustavus at #107 nationally and as the highest-ranked school in Minnesota among public and private institutions, highlighting the College’s ability to make sure its students graduate within four years and go on to achieve impressive professional outcomes as soon as they leave campus.
  • Washington Monthly, whose rankings are based on social mobility, research opportunities, and promoting pathways to public service—meaning, what schools “do for the country”—tabs Gustavus as the #31 liberal arts college in the U.S. The publication also calls Gustavus Minnesota’s #2 “Bang for the Buck”school and #1 private college—so named for how well the institution helps “non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”
  • In addition, College Raptor, which has a proprietary college planning and comparison tool, cites Gustavus three times: As its #2 “Hidden Gem” in Minnesota, its #18 Division III Hidden Gem overall, and the 16th-most affordable college nationwide for middle class applicants.

All these rankings reflect the breadth and depth of the Gustavus educational experience and the many ways life on the Hill, coupled with the College’s ability to maximize its resources, prepares students for success in whatever fields they choose to pursue in their careers.

“Gustavus has always embraced and leveraged our core values and our community’s ingenuity to create an environment where a diverse collection of students can reach their full academic potential,” President Bergman said. “Gustavus graduates leave college thoroughly equipped to address the great challenges of our time. I am gratified that so many outlets have recognized our efforts to deliver an exceptional education to our students.”




Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad



  1. Dana N Mumey, 83 says:

    So great and so proud to be an alumnus!

  2. Nancy McCoy says:

    So proud to be an alumnus and give to this school!

  3. Rev. Arlyn Tolzmann says:

    CONGRATULATIONS to Students, Faculty, and administration!!!

    From proud Gusties from the presidents of the classes of ’65 and ’67. Rev. Arlyn and Jeanne Mingus Tolzmann.

  4. John Hasselberg says:

    These rankings describe well what GA has always been about — and certainly was for me and many of my friends and students.

  5. Keep this going please, great job!

  6. Olene Hanson Bigelow ‘65 says:

    Congratulations, Gustavus. The “liberal” in “liberal arts” gives the graduate enormous flexibility and a set of life skills that allow one to be adaptable to changing conditions. I am grateful for that, having had three distinct “careers” in my life, each of which I found exciting and fulfilling.