ICYMI: Enrollment Up at Thomas College, Rankings & New Scholarship

WATERVILLE, MAINE, October 2023 — US News & World Report released its most recent college rankings and Thomas College is the only school in Maine among US News’ list of Top Performers in Social Mobility for Northeast Region Universities.

For the past several years, U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Thomas College as a top college in Maine for upward social mobility of its graduates.

Almost half of Thomas College’s student population identify as first-generation college students. The academic and social support and caring community makes it a place for all students to thrive, particularly those who are the first in their families to attend college.

Plus, Thomas College is led by a first-generation college student, President Laurie G. Lachance.

“Thomas College has a long and storied history of serving students of great promise who come from humble roots,” said Lachance. “The secret ingredient to our graduates’ great success in their professional and personal lives is really quite simple – Thomas provides a great education in a highly personalized community. Each student can create their own unique path and pace as they strive for their own unique dreams, fully supported by faculty and staff who know them as individuals and truly care about their future.”

This year, the average GPA is the highest it’s ever been for incoming students at 3.43, the College is experiencing record retention rates for returning students, and overall enrollment grew 3.3 percent year-over-year, in the face of great challenges.

Some of the support students can expect at Thomas College includes designated staff members to support our students one-on-one academically and socially, plus partnerships with programs like JMG and TRIO. JMG at Thomas College launched in 2014 and was the first college in the nation to have a JMG program. It’s still the only private college in Maine with a JMG program.

Continuing to support our students and their success is a top priority, and next fall the College is implementing a new academic scholarship to students who are high-academic performers. Only two students will be chosen to receive a full-tuition scholarship called the Thomas College Excellence in Education Scholarship.

This scholarship was inspired by a scholarship program Thomas College had many years ago. Our current CIO Christopher Rhoda was the recipient of this scholarship – then called the Maine High School Teachers Scholarship Program – the first year it was offered in 1984.

Rhoda said this scholarship is the reason he attended Thomas College: “Being from Aroostook County, I had never heard of Thomas College and didn’t know much about the Waterville area. I had already deposited at Westbrook College in Portland for a similar degree program.”

Thirty-five years later, he’s experienced extraordinary success in his career and has been a leader in technology implementation for Thomas College.

“In some ways, Thomas has changed a lot; twice the number of students, twice the buildings, almost twice the acreage, many more housing options, education and arts and science majors (not just business), the dining options are much greater, and there is a more diverse student population. In other ways, Thomas hasn’t changed at all; the students are career focused, faculty and staff continue to be student-centric, and the campus continues to have a family atmosphere,” said Rhoda.

For students considering applying for the scholarship, Rhoda says:

“While some schools claim to be free, and others may be larger and advertise that they provide personal attention, Thomas is one of a few smaller institutions in New England that provide a high-quality, career-focused, student-centric education where the faculty and staff really do know the students and do all they can to help them with their personal and professional goals.”

“I never thought I would be at Thomas for most of my life, but it has felt good working for my alma-mater and giving back to the institution who first invested in me,” said Rhoda.

Thomas College is hosting its Fall Open House on October 21 for prospective students and families. Registration is still open.

About Thomas College: 

U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Thomas College as a top college in Maine for social mobility. Our clear career focus and one-of-a-kind Guaranteed Job Program makes it possible to advance faster in the arts and sciences, business, and education. Earn an undergraduate degree in three years and then choose from a variety of in-person or online graduate degree programs that can be completed in one-year or two. Located in Waterville, Maine, Thomas College is your pathway to a promising future, guaranteed. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at [email protected] or 207-859-1313. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and TikTok.

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