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Wayne State Makes Big Jump in Annual College Rankings

Published: 11-5-2013 9:40 am

Wayne State College is the only public college or university in Nebraska to receive recognition in this year’s U.S. News and World Report annual college guide, the Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings, and Colleges of Distinction. This is the second consecutive year the college has achieved these honors. 

Wayne State ranks 21st among public universities in the Midwest, and 72nd among all regional universities, both public and private, in the U.S. News rankings. Wayne State was 32nd among regional public universities and 88th overall last year. 

Washington Monthly awarded Wayne State the highest overall score of any public institution in Nebraska, with the college ranked second among all public and private schools in the state. The college also ranked second for community service participation and for the quality of its service staff, courses and financial aid support in Nebraska among public and private institutions. Wayne State ranks 116th out of 684 master’s universities in the U.S.

“Obviously, rankings are a slippery subject, yet one we must grapple with each year in higher education,” said Wayne State President Curt Frye. “Ideally, prospective students and their parents will conduct their own research to find the best college to suit their desire to lay the groundwork for their career. Rankings can, however, provide students with a place to start in the search process and serve as an important indicator for the college in relation to its peers.”

Wayne State’s ranking in U.S. News places the college second among public institutions and fourth among both public and private schools in Nebraska. The college ranks third among the 16 schools in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in which it competes in Division II athletics. 

Other benchmarks to note among the U.S. News rankings data: Wayne State’s average alumni giving rate is 14 percent (only 18 out of nearly 150 schools had a higher giving rate); Wayne State is the only school in the Midwest region to report a 100 percent acceptance rate; 44 percent of WSC classes have less than 20 students; and the college’s freshman retention rate is 68 percent. 

“The college clearly delivers satisfaction, access and individual attention,” Frye said. “These factors and more contribute greatly to our ability to fulfill our mission of teaching excellence, student success and regional service. A tremendous amount of the credit belongs to Wayne State’s faculty and staff for their invaluable teaching and support.”

Washington Monthly, founded in 1969, rates schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

“Unlike U.S. News & World Report and similar guides, this one asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country,” according to Washington Monthly press materials. “Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive—and if so, why is average tuition rising faster than health care costs? Every year we lavish billions of tax dollars and other public benefits on institutions of higher learning. This guide asks: Are we getting the most for our money?”

“With so much emphasis being placed upon access, accountability and cost in the national debate over higher education, we are understandably proud to rank so highly in Washington Monthly,” President Frye said. “The rankings confirm for us what we know here in Wayne: We are outstanding stewards of the trust and support placed in us by the state of Nebraska and its students. There exists little room for doubt about the excellence of our programs or our commitment to ensuring Nebraska students have a high quality, low cost option for a college education.”

Colleges of Distinction is a college guide with a unique approach. Instead of looking for the richest or the most famous schools, the guide asks which colleges are the best places to learn, to grow, and to succeed.

“The goal of Colleges of Distinction is to provide students, counselors, and parents with information about schools that excel in these key areas,” according to its website. “We describe schools that take a holistic approach to admissions decisions, that consistently excel in providing undergraduate education, and that have a truly national reputation.”

A “College of Distinction” is nationally recognized by education professionals as an excellent school, strongly focused on teaching undergraduates, home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences, an active campus with many opportunities for personal development, and highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation. 

“These three college guides provide a clear, comprehensive picture of where the college stands and the foundation upon which a Wayne State education is built,” President Frye said. “We are a regional college of distinction.” 

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