Arkansas universities and college rankings by U.S. News & World Report vary widely

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 1,259 views 

Most of the universities and colleges around the Natural State were recently ranked among their peer institutions by U.S. News & World Report, which looked at 15 factors to determine the rankings segmented by school size. The University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) ranked in the middle of the pack at No. 153 of 399 national universities in the report.

The University of Arkansas ranked below several peer institutions in surrounding states. The University of Oklahoma ranked No. 132 among the 399 schools, University of Texas ranked No. 53 and the University of Missouri ranked No. 139. The University of Mississippi ranked lower than than the UA at No. 162.

Smaller colleges around the state that also competed in the national university rankings include Harding University in Searcy. Harding garnered the No. 240 spot on the list of 399 which included the likes of Princeton, Stanford and Harvard. Harding is a private university with an enrollment of 5,121.

Three other colleges in the state — the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and the University of Arkansas in Little Rock — each came in the bottom quartile of the National University listings with a combined rating of No. 293 to No. 381, according to the report. A number of institutions had tied scores in the bottom quartile of the report.

The rankings assess 15 factors which are divided into four main categories. The report looks at “school’s outcomes” that include graduation rates, values added to graduates’ salaries, debt after graduation and overall academic reputation. This “outcomes” category comprises 40% of the total score.

A school’s academic resources comprise 30% of its score, and the effectiveness with which it engages with its students determines 20%. A school’s environment, measured in terms of its diversity and inclusion, is weighted at 10%, the report states.

The report also classified smaller institutions as regional universities and colleges using similar metrics for those rankings. Looking at the regional university results in the South, John Brown University in Siloam Springs earned the No. 11 rank out of 141 colleges reviewed. That’s up two spots from last year.

“We are grateful to be recognized by the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report because these rankings are a testament to the caliber of students, faculty and staff at JBU,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “JBU is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and this national recognition underscores our long-standing commitment to providing a rigorous Christian education that prepares students to honor God and serve others.”

Arkansas Tech University in Russellville ranked at No. 75 among the 141 regional universities in the South. Arkansas Tech reports an enrollment of 11,151 students. At No. 79, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia had a strong showing in the report. Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia ranked No. 96 to No. 122, according to the report. The range rating indicates several institutions with tied scores in the lower quartile performances. The University of Arkansas at Monticello was not ranked in the report.

The report also evaluated regional colleges in the South, which included a number of smaller schools across Arkansas. Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, ranked No. 2 in this cohort of 124 schools. University of the Ozarks in Clarksville has 872 students and ranked No. 7 among regional colleges in the South. The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff ranked No. 34 with enrollment of 2,473. In Little Rock, Philander Smith College ranked No. 41 with an enrollment of 1,000 students. Central Baptist College in Conway ranked No. 58 with 732 students and University of Arkansas at Fort Smith ranked No. 61 and provided no enrollment data.

Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock and Crowley’s Ridge College of Paragould had combined ranks of No. 65 to No. 83, again tying with a number of schools on overall scores.

There are more than 40 colleges and universities in Arkansas, not all of them ranked in the U.S. News report which is survey-based and requires school participation.

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