University of the Ozarks has been ranked in multiple categories in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings.
In the 2021 edition of Best Colleges, released this week, U of O ranked in a tie for fifth overall among more than 80 regional colleges in the South — the 22nd consecutive year Ozarks has been ranked in the “top tier” among regional colleges in the South.
Ozarks has been ranked among the top 10 in the 12-state South Region in each of the past 10 years. The overall rankings examine such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
The magazine’s annual late summer publication that analyzes institutions of higher education also had U of O ranked second in the “Best Value Schools” in the South, trailing only Kentucky State University. The value rankings evaluate the cost of attending a university relative to the quality of the institution and takes into account such things as the percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid and the average institutional aid those students receive.
In addition, Ozarks was ranked third in the South Region in the category of “Most Innovative,” a new ranking based on “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. The schools that received the most nominations for making promising changes on campus are listed here,” according to the publication.
In the category of “Undergraduate Teaching,” for colleges that put a focus on undergraduate teaching, Ozarks was ranked ninth in the South.
In the area of “Social Mobility,” Ozarks was ranked No. 27 in the South. This category represents those colleges that are most successful “at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The vast majority of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000,” according to the magazine.
The publication’s 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.