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Five NH colleges make Forbes' list of top institutions

Union Leader Correspondent

August 05. 2011 11:02PM

Five of the Granite State's colleges and universities have been included in the annual Forbes list of the 650 Best Undergraduate Institutions, and two, Dartmouth College in Hanover and St. Anselm College in Goffstown, made the top 100.

According to Forbes, which released the 2011 rankings this week, colleges that make the list are evaluated on five criteria: post-graduate success, student satisfaction, student debt, four-year graduation rate and competitive awards.

Post-graduate success looks at listings of alumni in Who's Who in America as well as alumni salaries and status as heads of companies. Student satisfaction results are derived from freshman-to-sophomore retention rates and feedback on

Student loan default rates and debt load are weighed, as are graduation rates and prestigious awards won by students including Fulbright, Rhodes and Marshall fellowships and scholarships, according to Forbes.

Holding steady at No. 30 on the Forbes list is Dartmouth College in Hanover, which placed 30th in 2010 as well and 98th in 2009.

'We're pleased that Dartmouth College has been recognized for providing a world-class education,' said Justin Anderson, director of media relations.

But Anderson said that the college doesn't 'do what we do for rankings or for inclusion on a list.'

'We don't want to get caught up in any particular list because there are so many and they're all different,' he said.

Joining Dartmouth in the top 100 is St. Anselm College in Goffstown, coming in at 85. St. Anselm has quickly climbed the Forbes ladder from being ranked No. 216 in 2009, rising to No. 146 before breaking into the top 100 this year.

Barbara LeBlanc, director of news and information at the college, said making the Forbes list is 'gratifying.'

'It's nice to be recognized for what we offer - an excellent liberal arts education at an affordable price,' she said.

The University of New Hampshire in Durham - the only public university in the state to make the list - has also continued its climb from No. 454 in 2009 to No. 371 in 2010 to its current ranking of No. 280.

Colby-Sawyer College in New London also made the Forbes list ranking No. 503, and President Tom Galligan said, 'We're certainly very pleased to be on the list.'

But like the others, Galligan downplayed the rankings. While noting that the Forbes list helps earn recognition for the college, it's 'the quality of the student's experience at the college' that matters.

'What it's really all about is students finding a place where they can excel,' he said.

At No. 572, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge also made the Forbes list.

'It is no secret that Franklin Pierce University is gaining new visibility as a nationally respected institution of higher education,' said spokesman and alumnus Randall Kennedy.

'What matters even more, though, is the feedback that members of our campus community are now getting - more frequently than ever - from educators, employers, guidance counselors and university administrators and others, coast to coast, who know about the student-centered experience that is the hallmark of a Franklin Pierce University education.'

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