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U.S. News 2008 Edition of Best Colleges Ranks CU in Top Tier in the “Baccalaureate Colleges” (South) Category
Athens, W.Va. - Concord University was one of two public institutions in West Virginia that ranked in the “top tier” category in the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, “baccalaureate colleges (south)” category. Out of the 47 listed, only eight were public institutions, the remaining were private.
The listing ranks institutions by type and region, and then groups the top institutions as a separate list. Institutions ranked 50 through 100 are listed in the “tier 3” and “tier 4” categories.
Concord’s rank improved from “tier three” to “tier two” in 2002. And this year, for the fourth year in a row, Concord was ranked in the “top” category.
The exclusive rankings – which this year feature some substantial changes in methodology – will be published in the magazine’s August 27 issue, on newsstands Monday, August 20, and available online at www.usnews.com/colleges beginning today.
The annual rankings – in which U.S. News groups schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching – provide an unmatched resource for parents and students contemplating one of life’s most challenging financial decisions.
“For nearly a quarter century, consulting the U.S.News & World Report rankings has been a vital first step for prospective college students and their parents in the complex process of determining which institution best fits their goals,” said U.S.News & World Report’s editor, Brian Kelly. “Designed as a one-stop resource, the rankings supply hard data and analysis to help college applicants make apples-to-apples comparisons of schools across the country. Through these rankings, and the ‘America’s Best Colleges’ guidebook, our goal is to help equip students and their families to make a knowledgeable decision based on clear, comparative research.”
Using a proprietary methodology, the annual U.S.News & World Report rankings represent the most comprehensive look at how schools stack up based on a set of 15 widely accepted indicators of excellence, and help consumers evaluate and compare data compiled from more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools. Changes in the U.S.News & World Report methodology for the 2008 edition include:
* Category changes – Since U.S.News & World Report categorizes schools based on the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classifications, many schools changed from one U.S.News & World Report ranking category to another due to the foundation’s recently announced “2006 Basic version.” Schools that switched categories since last year’s rankings as a result (more than 200) or that are ranked for the first time (55 in all) are noted in the tables.
* Military service academies now included – Due to the new Carnegie Classification changes, the U.S. service academies – Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine – are ranked for the first time, and all ranked as the top public school in their respective categories. The U.S. Naval Academy (MD) and the U.S. Military Academy (NY) ranked among the top 25 liberal arts colleges: 20th and 22nd respectively. In the list of Best Baccalaureate Colleges, which are grouped by region, the U.S. Air Force Academy (CO) topped the list of schools in the West; and the U.S. Coast Guard (CT) and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (NY) were in the top 10 for the North: 2nd and 7th respectively.
* Pell Grants are a new ranking criterion – The percentage of Pell Grant recipients attending a school is now one of the variables used to calculate the “graduation rate performance” measure for national universities and liberal arts colleges. Because many schools include as part of their mission a focus on educating students from low-income families, the inclusion of this data enables schools with a high proportion of Pell Grant recipients to be measured more accurately against those with fewer recipients in terms of graduation rates. Pell Grants are not used as part of any other ranking component.
* Unranked schools are now listed differently – Unranked schools, which had been listed together alphabetically in a single, separate table, now appear in groups beneath the category in which they would have been ranked. Because some schools are unable to report key educational statistics, or because they have certain other characteristics (nontraditional first-year students, small overall enrollment, etc.), it would not be statistically valid to compare them with other schools. In addition, institutions that have indicated that they don’t use SAT and ACT scores in admission decisions for first time first-year, degree-seeking applicants now also are included in the list of unranked schools, footnoted as such.
* New category title – The category formerly titled “Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s” has been re-named “Baccalaureate Colleges” to better clarify the broad educational mission of these schools.
A complete summary of the methodology used to rank each school can be found online at www.usnews.com/colleges.
Interim Vice President and Academic Dean, Dr. Stephen Rowe, said, “Concord University is aware of the controversy relating to how institutions may ‘manipulate’ their standings in quality surveys, so the University takes no particular action intended to impact upon these reviews. Rather, Concord's mission and goals are derived from West Virginia legislative guidance and the University's carefully designed collegial efforts to attain its educational ideals. If our efforts have produced results that resonate favorably with the U.S.News survey, we are pleased that an outside agency seems to confirm the value of a Concord education, but we will continue to strive to live up to our own standards which have served Concord University and its students so well for so long.”
About U.S.News & World Report
Founded in 1933, the weekly national news magazine U.S.News & World Report is devoted to reporting and to analyzing national and international affairs, politics, business, health, science, technology and social trends. Through its annual editions of America's Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools, America's Best Hospitals, America’s Best Health Plans and America’s Best Leaders, as well as its News You Can Use® brand, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. The U.S. News website (www.usnews.com) extends that brand promise and delivers the best, most accurate information online, organized in an easily accessible way.
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