U.S. News ranks Centre College #42 in the nation
Centre College improved its national ranking by five spots in the 2012 U.S. News Best Colleges Guide, rising to #42 in the “National Liberal Arts Colleges” category.
Centre has long enjoyed a reputation as being one of the nation’s top-50 colleges, but this is the most significant increase in the last 10 years.
“Our approach to undergraduate education and metrics for success are informed by an internal compass nearly two centuries in the making,” said John A. Roush, president of Centre College, which was founded in 1819.
“That said, we are always gratified to know that external barometers gauge our mission a success as well. Indeed, by every external measure, we are acknowledged as doing something right,” Roush added.
In addition, Centre garnered continued high marks in a number of other key benchmark categories. For instance, as testament to its outstanding faculty, small class size and dedication to collaborative research, Centre was ranked #15 in the nation in the “Best Undergraduate Teaching” category. This high ranking places Centre in company with colleges such as Carleton, Swarthmore, Oberlin, Williams and Amherst.
The value of a Centre education also received high marks, with a national ranking of #27 in the “Best Schools, Best Values” category. U.S. News added the value category more than 10 years ago in response to growing attention to the rising costs of education and return on investment. On average, Centre is $10,000 less in total annual cost in relation to its peers among the top-50 colleges.
In another change to the rankings methodology, U.S. News recently began factoring in the opinion of high school guidance counselors, who are on the front line of the college search process. Here, too, Centre College ranks among the nation’s top colleges, receiving a ranking of #53.
Centre’s rise in the national rankings was accounted for by increases in several key areas. The College’s overall score improved, from 70 to 74; its reputation index improved, from 72 to 73; and the graduation and retention ranking improved, from 55 to 56. Part of this last metric involved an impressive freshman retention percentage, up a point from last year to 92 percent.
One of the largest increases was in the faculty resources rank, which moved up five spots, from 75 to 70. While no single improvement alone could strengthen the overall ranking, the combination of increases in these several categories were responsible for Centre’s rise in the rankings.
In categories only available on the U.S. News website, Centre is also recognized for its strong international study program, listed as #3 in the nation on the list of “Most Students Studying Abroad”; for its percentage of students receiving merit aid (35 percent), listed as #8; and for its percentage of students living in campus housing (98 percent), listed at #20 in the nation.
“While we are pleased with these outcomes,” said Roush, “the best metric remains our continued ability to transform the lives of our students by training heart and mind together, for their benefit and others.”