So why rank Christian Colleges?
While rankings for higher education abound, they are filled with controversy. There are complaints about every methodology and many of them are justified. The idea that we can reduce a college's worth to a raw numerical score is absurd on many levels. So, why would Faith on View want to step into this?
It started as a personal interest. I worked for several years at a Christian college that was not healthy. Looking at the drop in the school's US News rankings was a helpful way for those who were concerned about the college to quantify their concern. As I watched the rankings over the years, however, I noticed that it was often difficult to compare rankings from different categories. There was really no way to compare the quality of a national university to a regional liberal arts college or to compare regional schools that are in adjoining states but considered to be in different regions. Out of curiosity, I looked online to see if there was a ranking of Christian colleges. The only site I came across was one put together by the PR department of a college that just pulled CCCU schools out from the Forbes rankings. There was nothing independent and nothing exhaustive. Further, many Christian schools are small and a good number of them are not ranked in US News.
My hope was to provide a comprehensive ranking of Christian colleges. What I didn’t realize until I began putting the rankings together was just how many students are served by Christian colleges. The Faith on View Rankings rank 201 colleges that serve well over 500,000 students. Further, over the last several decades Christian colleges have grown at a faster rate than secular schools as more families are interested in educations which are specifically and intentionally religious.
I spend my life in the world of religious higher education. While until my PhD program all my own education was secular, I have now taught at two evangelical institutions and have many friends and contacts across the Christian higher education world. There are, though, very few resources to help families make sound educational choices for their children. These rankings aim to be just that. A tool in the tool boxes of families. For that reason, the rankings continue to expand and improve as a more practical resource.
When my own son was selecting potential colleges a few years ago there were limited resources. We were fortunate that because of my profession, I had the ability to guide him and help make an informed choice. But, I would have loved to have a resource such as the Faith on View rankings upon which to call.
Over the next year, Faith on View will strive to be an increasingly comprehensive resource for families as we will slowly be adding individual profile pages for each institution which will provide an in-depth look into each institution and provide invaluable information for families. The information on these pages will be fleshed out as institutions respond to the survey which Faith on View will send to each institution for use in the 2019 rankings.
These rankings are a labor of love. But, they are a labor. Each year, the rankings are a several month research project which is added on top of my PhD studies, teaching, artistic production, and family. For that reason, I ask that if you find these rankings helpful and if you are able, please consider donating to support this project.