Highline among top colleges

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

Highline was ranked as the 42nd best community college in the United States in a recent ranking by College Choice. 

College Choice, an independent online publication, ranked Highline in a list of the 50 best community colleges in the country.

College Choice publishes rankings and reviews to assist students in choosing the right college for them. They also provide resources to help students get accepted into the colleges and pay for their tutition. 

The colleges were ranked based on first year retention rates, three-year graduation rates, credentials awarded, diversity and minority graduation rates.

Highline officials said they were surprised to hear of the award. 

Vice President Dr. Lisa Skari said that Highline did not apply for this award or receive any pre-notification. 

"I know the rankings are connected to the Aspen Prize and considering Highline was in their Top 150 last year, I am assuming this is how we made it on their list. In looking at the other four Washington community colleges listed, I know Walla Walla won the Aspen Prize one year, and both Renton Technical and Olympic made it on their top 10 lists at one point," Dr. Skari said. 

Three other community colleges in Washington state, aside from Highline, made the ranking.

College Choice ranked Olympic College in as the 16th best community college, Walla Walla Community College as the 25th and South Puget Sound Community College as the 41st.

Highline was established in 1961 as the first community college in King County and enrolls more than 17,000 students annually.  The report recognized how the local population and enrollment of international students contribute to Highline's diversity.

According to College Choice's report on the rankings, "26 percent of all students were categorized as White, 20 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander, 17 percent African American, 19 percent Hispanic or Latino and 1 percent Native American."

In recent years, Highline has earned various awards.

Highline received the "Excellence in Diversity" award three times consecutively; two Awards of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges; recognized in the nation's top 150 colleges by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program; and was recognized nationally as one of the top colleges to work for by The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

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