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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

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Latest national ranking reinforces commitment to excellence


Listed as one of the "Best National Universities," Ohio University has once again retained its spot as a Tier 1 institution, according to the latest college rankings edition of U.S. News & World Report.

Boasting impressive statistics such as an 81 percent freshman retention rate and a 64 percent graduation rate, the University achieved the ranking of 135th overall.  

This year, 281 institutions fall into the National Universities category. All offer a wide range of undergraduate programs, as well as master's and doctoral degrees.

The University shares the spot in a six-way tie with Hofstra University, Kansas State University, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, New School (NY) and the University of Cincinnati. Ohio University is tied for 68th in the public national school rankings.

In 2013, Ohio University ranked 131st overall and 65th in public school rankings.

"Key measures of quality" on which rankings are based include: graduation and retention rates, assessment by peers and counselors, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

Although it dropped slightly in the rankings this year, Ohio University earned the same score this year as last, said Barbara Wharton, the associate provost for institutional research and effectiveness. Wharton explains that there were slight changes to the formula that put more emphasis on factors such as incoming freshman ACT/SAT scores.  

While Ohio University's freshman class average scores remained unchanged, those schools with higher ACT/SAT scores fared slightly better under the new formula.

"U.S. News College rankings provide a valuable perspective, but the formula does change slightly from year to year." Wharton said. "Our goal at Ohio University is to continue providing access to higher education to students."

Among its goals, the university places special emphasis on the undergraduate experience and on increasing retention and graduation rates.  

Ohio University performs particularly well in the category of Graduation Rate Performance Rank, ranking 12th. This rank is based on how much higher the graduation rate is than what would be predicted based on the selectivity of admissions. While Ohio University does practice selective admissions, it also aims to provide access to a broader range of students.

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said she is pleased to see that Ohio University is ranked among the top schools in the nation and OHIO's focus on providing educational opportunities to academically gifted and academically promising students is the right one.

"We are particularly encouraged by those students who come to us with some challenges but show great promise," Benoit said. "Our faculty members are excellent teachers and our academic and support staff members are dedicated to their success. Once our students join our community, we work hard to help them be successful. That is something we should all be proud of."

In March, Ohio University's Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics program secured the position of fifth in the nation in the Specialties section of the national graduate school rankings of the U.S. News and World Report.