Sep 16th, 2013 @ 1:35 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
U.S. News released its annual Best Colleges rankings earlier this month, and Valley City State University was ranked as the #2 Public Regional College in the Midwest for 2014. This is the 16th consecutive year VCSU has been ranked as a “Best College” by U.S. News in our category.

As you may recall, VCSU was ranked in the number one position each of the past two years, so we were of course disappointed in dropping a notch to the number two ranking this year. However, I do want to stress the bright side (and there is a bright side!). With this year’s ranking, it now marks the fifth consecutive year that VCSU has been in either the #1 or #2 position (in 2010 and 2011 VCSU also held the #2 position) among the Top Public Regional Colleges in the Midwest. No other college or university can make that claim, and VCSU is rightfully proud to be consistently ranked with such a high rating. Remaining at or near the top of the rankings is certainly an accomplishment and represents a powerful testimony to the strong teaching and learning environment at VCSU. VCSU also remains the highest rated North Dakota public university in our category.

The Midwest region includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. The colleges and universities in this category recruit most of their students from within their surrounding area (thus the term “Regional College”). This category is comprises colleges and universities that primarily focus on undergraduate education and grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. There are a total of 99 institutions ranked in the Midwest Regional Colleges category, and of these, 85 are private schools while 14 are public like Valley City State. Therefore, in comparing schools with a similar profile to VCSU in the 12-state Midwest, Valley City State University ranked #2 among the 14 public colleges and universities.

The value of a VCSU education should also be highlighted. Most of the private schools ranked in the Midwest list annual tuition/fees in the $25,000-$35,000 range. When you consider VCSU’s tuition/fees are substantially less at approximately one-fourth that amount, it only serves to further emphasize the value proposition of VCSU combining educational excellence and affordability.

The rankings methodology comprise important indicators such as graduation rates, freshmen retention, percentage of full-time faculty, peer institution assessment, average class sizes, student-to-faculty ratio, average ACT/SAT scores, freshmen in the top 25% of their graduating class, and alumni donor giving rates. The faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters of this campus can be proud of VCSU’s tradition of excellence within this annual ranking system!

As U.S. News notes, the annual rankings allow its readers to “…compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention and graduation rates and the strength of the faculty.” College rankings are not the only metrics for selecting the best option for higher education, but they certainly are a key part of the overall criteria used by prospective students when making such important decisions.

VCSU is proud to be ranked #2 among 14 similar colleges and universities in the Midwest, and we look forward to sharing this news with prospective VCSU students while also working hard to regain the top spot in next year’s rankings! It is another great start to the 2013-14 academic year at VCSU.