For the second consecutive year, University of the Ozarks has been ranked No. 1 in the “Great Schools, Great Prices,” value category among universities in the South by “U.S. News & World Report.”
In its 2017 edition of America’s Best Colleges, which hit the newsstands this week, U.S. News & World Report listed U of O third overall among the more than 75 Regional Colleges in the South Region. The overall rankings examine such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
It is the 18th consecutive year that Ozarks has been ranked a “top tier” university by the publication. Ozarks has been ranked among the top 10 of schools in the South Region in each of the past six years, including eighth overall last year.
In the “Great Schools, Great Prices,” value category, Ozarks was once again ranked first in the South Region in the annual late summer publication that analyzes institutions of higher education. It is the second consecutive year and the third time in the last six years that Ozarks has been ranked atop the best value category.
Ozarks has not raised tuition since 2012 and last year eliminated student compulsory fees, creating an actual reduction of attendance costs for students.
“The university is committed to its mission, ‘True to our Christian heritage, we prepare students from diverse religious, cultural, educational and economic backgrounds to live life fully,’” said U of O President Richard Dunsworth. “ Receiving the No 1 ranking of “Great Schools, Great Prices’ is wonderful recognition of the work being done to deliver on the mission and to prepare students to live life fully.”
The value rankings evaluate the cost of attending a college or university relative to the quality of the institution. According to the magazine, “the higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.”
U.S. News also ranked Ozarks second in the region in the category labeled “The Foreign Student Factor,” which looks at the percentage of undergraduate international students enrolled at universities. Ozarks had 12 percent international students in 2015-16, second in the region behind Florida Memorial University’s 14 percent international population.
“Our graduates will live and work in an ever increasingly diverse, multicultural and multinational world,” Dunsworth said. “We believe creating a multinational campus in the Natural State is not only a great extension of our mission, but it’s also preparing our students to be able to compete in a global economy.”
The publication’s 12-state South Region consists of primarily undergraduate colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia.
This year’s 32nd edition of America’s Best Colleges includes data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities. Among the quality factors measured in the rankings are peer assessment, graduation and student retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. U.S. News uses the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to produce categories of rankings for colleges and universities.