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Fifteen Arkansas Colleges Listed in Annual Best College Rankings

by Tyler Hale

Fifteen Arkansas colleges were listed on U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best colleges and universities in the United States.

For the past 35 years, U.S. News & World Report has evaluated colleges and universities and ranked them. The publication uses a variety of criteria and factors in the rankings, from ACT/SAT scores of admitted students, financial aid, graduation rates, post-graduate employment, student-faculty ratios and more.

While many of the top ranked schools on the list are located in the Northeast region of the country, Arkansas had multiple institutions on multiple categories of the list. The main list, the National Universities list, had four Arkansas colleges on it, with the state’s flagship university, the University of Arkansas, was ranked at #153.

The university tied for the #153 spot with George Mason University, Louisiana State University, Mercer University, The New School (New York, NY), Quinnipiac University, Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Alabama and Valparaiso University.

It was also tied for #72 in Top Public Schools, an improvement of six spots over last year.

“Student success is our top priority, and increasing retention and graduation rates is core to that mission, as it benefits our students and our state,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said in a statement. “Our peer assessment scores also increased to an all-time high, which is very encouraging. But the number that pleases me the most is the narrowing of the gap between our predicted and actual graduation rates. That gap was 8 percent last year and this year it’s 1 percent, with an actual graduation rate of 66 percent. That’s real progress.”

The University of Arkansas was also ranked #109 in Best Colleges for Veterans, #167 for Best Value Schools, #370 for Top Performers on Social Mobility and #93 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs

Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas – Little Rock and University of Central Arkansas were all ranked in the #293-381 region on the National Universities category.

A-State was also ranked #76 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, #110 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs and #119 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. Meanwhile, UALR was tied for #185 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs and #214 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. University of Central Arkansas was also ranked in Top Performers on Social Mobility at #270.

Ouachita Baptist University had the highest rankings among Arkansas colleges, with a #2 ranking for Best Regional Colleges South. In addition, the Arkadelphia college was ranked #5 in Best Value Schools and tied for #7 in Best Undergraduate Teaching. The school was also tied for #31 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

The other colleges list in Best Regional Colleges South include University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff (#34), University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (#61) and Arkansas Baptist College (#65-84)

University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff was highly ranked in the Top Public Schools category, at #7. It was also ranked at #12 in Best Colleges for Veterans, tied for #35 in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and tied for #46 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith also ranked in the top section of the Top Public School category, coming in at #15. The school tied for #61 for Top Performers on Social Mobility with Arkansas Baptist College, which was also ranked #59-76 in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities category.

Arkansas was well-represented in the Best Regional Universities South category, with John Brown University coming in at #11. The Siloam Springs college was named the #15 Best Value School and tied for #4 for Best Colleges for Veterans and #12 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. John Brown University was also ranked #24 in Best Undergraduate Teaching and #97 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

Arkansas Tech University followed John Brown University in the Best Regional Universities South category, ranking at #75. For the Top Public Schools category, ATU was tied for #30. It also tied for #76 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #161 for Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

Henderson State University was close behind ATU in both the Best Regional Universities South category and the Top Public Schools category, at #79 and #33, respectively. Henderson State tied with ATU for #30 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Southern Arkansas University was ranked in the #96-122 region for Best Regional Universities South, as well as ranking #76 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Hendrix was the top ranked school in Arkansas on the National Liberal Arts Colleges list, coming in at #92. The school’s highest ranking was for Most Innovative Schools at #18. The Conway college was also named #40 for Best Value Schools and #185 for Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Both Lyon College and Williams Baptist University were ranked in the #164-215 area on the National Liberal Arts Colleges list. Williams Baptist ranked #45 for Top Performers on Social Mobility while Lyon College was ranked #50.

The top 10 ranked universities on the list are, in order, Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, Duke University and Johns Hopkins University.

READ MORE: The State of Education in Arkansas

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