Coe earns Top 100 spot in Washington Monthly’s College Guide and Rankings

VictoryBellinSunWhen it comes to preparing students to make the world a better place, Coe College is one of the best.

Washington Monthly ranked Coe the No. 88 liberal arts college in the nation for the 2021-22 school year — an increase of 39 spots from the previous year. The Washington Monthly ranking system is unique in that it identifies the best colleges based on their contribution to the public good. The ranking methodology consists of three equally weighted categories: social mobility, research and promoting public service.

“The Monthly rates institutions of higher learning on the degree to which they recruit and graduate students of modest means, produce the scholarship and scholars that drive economic growth and human flourishing, and encourage students to be active citizens and serve their country,” the Washington Monthly noted in a press release.

Coe’s placement on the list aligns with its mission to prepare students for meaningful lives and fulfilling careers.

“Our students are empowered to ask questions, which enables transformation,” said David Hayes, Coe College interim president.

Coe’s efforts to provide superior student support and connections to the community have been integral to creating an atmosphere where service and contributions to the greater good are an important component of the educational experience. 

At the forefront is C3: Creativity, Careers, Community, an on-campus center that connects students to community and civic engagement opportunities in addition to being a resource for career guidance and internship placement.

“We’re always looking to support students’ development as active and educated citizens,” said Joe Demarest, director of community and civic engagement. “It’s a win-win because we see our students grow and also create positive, community-driven social change.”

Coe students have volunteered or interned with organizations in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area like Willis Dady Homeless Services, Habitat for Humanity and Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. There are 25 featured community partners, and Coe students contribute more than 20,000 hours of community service each year. Additionally, Coe is continuing to make investments in campus infrastructure that will create more expansive opportunities for students to impact the broader community and society.

Soon, construction will begin on the David and Janice McInally Center for Health and Society, which will enable students to research and train in ways to improve health and well-being across society. The $2.6 million addition to Peterson Hall will create dedicated advising, mentoring and preparation space for students to explore how their discipline — whether in the humanities, arts, business, social sciences or sciences — can be applied to the health care field.

Coe also recently has established the Office of Student Success & Persistence, which provides resources and dedicated mentors to guide students in the transition from high school to college as well as navigate daily college life up until graduation. The Office of Student Success & Persistence complements the Coe Learning Commons, which provides academic support for all students.

“Across campus, we embrace what the liberal arts is about, which is thinking broadly and understanding interconnectedness in our world,” Hayes said. “That kind of teaching and thinking helps students understand how they can influence the collective and make meaningful change where it’s necessary in our society.

“We are honored to be included as a Top 100 liberal arts college and will continue to pursue all opportunities to educate our students about the importance of engaging with their community,” Hayes added.


Coe College offers superb academics and exciting cocurricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe’s vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.

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