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Fall College Rankings Reveal the Best About Wayne State College

Published Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Wayne State shines in several areas that reflect the college's mission and vision of making a difference to rural and community life through learning excellence, student success and regional service.

Fall rankings season has descended upon the nation's universities and colleges and Wayne State continues to shine in several areas that reflect the college's mission and vision of making a notable difference to rural and community life through learning excellence, student success and regional service.

Rather than rely on one publication's findings, Wayne State has compiled the results of three ranking systems, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings, and Colleges of Distinction, to paint the most comprehensive picture of where the college stands among its peers in the state, Midwest region and in the nation.

“Obviously, rankings are a slippery subject and will never serve as a substitute for first-hand research about the best college to suit a student's desire for an education,” said Wayne State President Curt Frye. “We encourage students to visit Wayne State to talk to our students, staff and faculty to get a real feel for the college. That said, rankings can provide students with a place to start in the search process and serve as an important barometer for the college to gauge where it is at in relation to our peers.”

The 2013 U.S. News & World Report College Compass ranks Wayne State College 88th out of more than 180 Midwest Regional Universities, a category made up of a mix of public and private colleges and universities. Wayne State is ranked 32nd among public colleges in the Midwest region. WSC is the fourth highest ranked college or university in Nebraska in the Midwest Regional University category (behind Creighton and Concordia, both privates, and University of Nebraska-Kearney).

Only one other college besides Wayne State among the more than 180 listed as Midwest Regional Universities is noted as having a 100 percent acceptance rate. The average acceptance rate for the top 15 Public Midwest Regional Universities is 71 percent.

“Wayne State does not shy away from its open enrollment policy,” President Curt Frye said. “We believe as an institution that it is our duty to accept all people who desire to better themselves through a degree. Unfortunately, a high acceptance rate works against an institution's reputation. Shouldn't it be the other way around?”

“What's more remarkable is that Wayne State College has maintained a 67 to 69 percent retention rate for quite a few years, which is close to the rate seen at highly selective colleges and universities throughout the nation,” Frye said.

Of the colleges and universities in the Midwest, only 15 have a higher alumni giving rate than Wayne State. In fact, WSC has a higher alumni giving rate than the top 15 Public Midwest Regional Universities.

“What better endorsement could a college ask for than the financial support of its mission and vision from its graduates?” Frye said.

“I am pleased to see Wayne State College's high ranking on alumni giving but not surprised,” said Phyllis Conner, WSC Vice President for Development and Executive Director of the Wayne State Foundation. “Our alumni consistently talk about the value of their education and their whole experience as a student; it changed their lives. This is a powerful motivation to contribute.”

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 the magazine's 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?”

Wayne State has the highest overall score of any public institutions in Nebraska, according to Washington Monthly. The college ranks third among all public and private schools in Nebraska and comes in at 87th in the nation among master's universities. Also of note, Wayne State is ranked second in Nebraska and 41st in the nation for the quality of its service staff, courses and financial aid support.

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.

Wayne State College was the only public institution listed from Nebraska and was featured in the publication for the second year in a row.

“Based on outside evaluation, Wayne State is succeeding in truly becoming a regional institution of distinction,” President Frye said.