SPOKANE, Wash. — Both Whitworth and Gonzaga Universities received high marks in the latest "Best Colleges" 2020 rankings released by U.S. News and World Report.

Whitworth University was named No. 3 in the West in the rankings released on Monday.

The private liberal arts university has held a spot in the top 10 for 19 of the last 20 years.

In 2018, Whitworth ranked No. 8 (tie) best university in the West, a tie with St. Mary’s College of California and Seattle University. Gonzaga University sat at No. 4.

Whitworth is affiliated with the Presbyterian church and has enrollment of more than 3,000 students. The school offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The university also received other top honors from U.S. News, including No. 1 best in the West for veterans, No. 4 Best Value, and No. 10 Most Innovative School.

The “Best in the West” rankings are based on a formula that uses statistical measures of academic quality, such as graduation rates, social mobility, faculty information and admissions data. Only regionally accredited institutions with four-year undergraduate degree-seeking students are surveyed and listed among U.S. schools for the Best in the West category.

U.S. News has published its rankings annually since 1983.

Whitworth is known for its small class sizes, with an 11-to-1 student-faculty ratio, 61% of classes with fewer than 20 students, and 2% of classes with more than 50 students, among other figures.

“What attracts students, even more than great rankings, is Whitworth’s warm and inclusive campus community, deep faculty-student relationships, and our mission to elevate academic excellence and faith-learning integration as complementary rather than competing values,” said Greg Orwig, vice president for admissions & financial aid

Whitworth’s incoming freshman class of nearly 700 students is the university’s second largest and most diverse freshman class, with 39% of students coming from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds and 37% first-generation students. Whitworth also welcomed its largest number of international students this year.

The incoming freshman class is also academically strong, with an average GPA of 3.71 and SAT score of 1180.

University leaders say Whitworth will soon break ground on a new health sciences facility.

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U.S. News ranked Gonzaga a “National University” for the first time this year. Under the new classification, Gonzaga ranked in the top 20% at 79th in the nation and is among the top best for undergraduate teaching at 17th.

Gonzaga is recognized in several other U.S. News specialty rankings, including the top 12% for best colleges for veterans (No. 48, tie). Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is ranked in the top 7% as the 21st best engineering program nationwide, while the undergraduate business program is ranked in the top 28% at No. 112 (tie).

With an average first-year retention rate of 94% and a graduation rate of 86%, U.S. News ranks Gonzaga’s graduation and retention in the top 12% of national universities at 48th.

“These rankings are reflective of a long-term, university-wide commitment to excellence, and I am proud of our community for the accomplishments represented by them,” Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said.

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