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Local colleges make the grade in rankings

Burl Rolett September 11, 2013 2
The University of Richmond's Robins School.

The University of Richmond’s Robins School.

Virginia schools got high marks in a popular set of college rankings released Tuesday.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Richmond in a tie for the 25th best liberal arts college in the nation in the latest installment of its annual “Best Colleges” rankings. Virginia Commonwealth University came in 167th in the separate national universities category.

Both schools landed on the list of “up and coming” colleges. VCU was one of 23 universities to receive the honor. UR joined Salem’s Roanoke College and eight other liberal arts colleges on that list, which was based on assessments by college presidents, provosts and deans.

vcu

Public space at VCU.

The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech were also ranked in the national university category, in ties for numbers 23 and 69, respectively. William and Mary tied for 32nd, and George Mason ranked 141st among national universities.

Washington and Lee tied for 14th in the liberal arts college rankings. Hampden-Sydney landed in a three-way tie for 97th in the same category.

Virginia Union, classified by U.S. News as a regional college, was tied with southwest Virginia’s Bluefield College for 53rd in the southern region. James Madison placed as the southern region’s 6th best regional university and Longwood University came in 31st. The University of Mary Washington placed 13th in the same category.

U.S. News judges colleges in seven categories to compile the rankings. Those factors, in order of assigned weight, are assessments from peers in academia, freshman retention rates, faculty makeup, applicant selectivity, school spending per student, graduation rate and alumni giving rate.

Update: A previous version of this story inadvertently omitted the rankings of Longwood University and the University of Mary Washington. The story has been updated to include those rankings.

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2 Comments »

  1. Bill Hassett September 11, 2013 at 8:06 am - Reply

    What the Fluff do the numbers mean? James Madison 6th best regional?

    George Mason Ranked 141 and VCU 167 – out of 168?

    Here are some numbers –

    Only 2 of the 10 fastest growing occupations in the USA require a bachelor’s degree or higher (source: Bureau
    of Labor Statistics).

    21.8 million students are enrolled in American colleges this fall, an all-time record (source: National Center for
    Education Statistics).

    Tell me what those mean.

    • Mike Jasp September 11, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Bill Hassett: Nice cheap shot at VCU…I assume you are ripe enough so that your memory is stuck in1985. USN ranks 200 national universities and many others it considers to be just regional such as JMU and Longwood. Many national universities are unranked, such as colorado tech, or unpublished, such as umas boston.

      Regardless, if you simply read the ranking data and criteria (briefly summarized in the article above) its pretty easy to understand “what it means”. Im not qualifying what it means, just stating that it is rather easy to understand.

      As for the two data points you added, they are actually meaningless since the metrics are not aligned. If you stated the second metric as a ratio of those entering the workforce it would have made more sense. The first few chapters of Statistics 101 would cover this stuff….hope this helps with your confusion!

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