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Raymond Nadolny, Published September 21 2013

Letter: Williston State rank is about our students

Of the 1,132 community colleges in the United States, Williston State College has cracked the top 20 at No. 18 for the first time. The ranking is not based on affordability. And, yes, Williston State is the most affordable college in the state and most probably the region. The ranking, however, is based on both educational practice and student outcome success.

Eight measures determine college rank. Five measures are taken from the respected Community College Survey of Student Engagement. Three other measures track the percentage of new students who return for a second year; the percentage that graduate or transfer elsewhere within three years; and the overall ratio of credentials granted for every 100 students enrolled. As a result, Washington Monthly identifies Williston State as one of “America’s Best Community Colleges.”

And what a year it has been for Williston State. Last fall, Williston State embarked on a strategic partnership with the park district. At the same time, the college received

$4 million in federal grants. Last winter, the college received accreditation reaffirmation in addition to multiple praises from the site reviewers. In the spring, the Legislature significantly increased college operations and provided capital funding for a new campus drive and renovation of Stevens Hall. The ranking released this summer by Washington Monthly confirms that Williston State is a good investment.

And maybe that is why, in spite of low unemployment, the college’s fall enrollment count is on the rise. Great faculty, great staff, great community – Williston State is indeed a boom within the boom.

Nadolny, Ph.D., is president, Williston (N.D.) State College.