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Wayne State Shines in Annual College Rankings

Published Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Three college guides provide a balanced view of Wayne State's commitment to students.

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 (www.collegesofdistinction.com). This is the third consecutive year the college has achieved these honors.

Washington Monthly ranked Wayne State 19th among all of the colleges and universities in the nation in its “Best Bang for the Buck” category, which is based on the economic value students receive per dollar. Washington Monthly also awarded Wayne State the highest ranking of any public institution in Nebraska, with the college ranked third among all public and private schools in the state. 

The college also ranked first for community service participation and for the quality of its service staff, courses and financial aid support in Nebraska among public institutions. Wayne State ranks 83rd out of 671 master’s universities in the U.S., up from 116th in 2013. WSC also sits higher than any other school in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) in which it competes in Division II athletics.

Wayne State ranks 2nd among public institutions in Nebraska, and 84th among all Midwest regional universities, both public and private, in the U.S. News rankings. The college ranks fourth among the 16 schools in the NSIC. 
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.”
Other benchmarks to note among the U.S. News rankings data: Wayne State’s average alumni giving rate is 13 percent (only two public institutions in the Midwest region had a higher giving rate); Wayne State is the only school in the Midwest region to report a 100 percent acceptance rate; 48 percent of WSC classes have less than 20 students; and the college’s freshman retention rate is 67 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 (www.collegesofdistinction.com) 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.”