Centre College made its first appearance in a U.S. News & World Report ranking that compares per-student expenditures and educational quality, coming in at #16 in the nation among liberal arts colleges for operational efficiency.
The ranking, which began in 2012, recognizes those institutions that not only “spend wisely” but also “have controlled their spending while still keeping students enrolled through graduation, maintaining a high academic reputation for excellence and fostering an engaged alumni network,” according to U.S. News.
John A. Roush, now in his 20th year as president, attributes Centre’s consistent success in these various categories to more than just fiscal discipline and sound strategic planning.
“We continue to attract and retain smart and talented people who maintain our nearly two-centuries old legacy of excellence,” he said, referencing the College’s upcoming bicentennial celebration in 2019. “Above all, our faculty and staff are laser-focused on offering an education defined by high achievement and opportunity.”
To accomplish these goals, Centre has worked to control costs by keeping annual increases at or below 3 percent for the last six years. It has been able to increase institutional aid in the process, thanks to the generosity of its donors and careful management of its endowment.
The past year, for instance, was the second time total annual giving exceeded $20 million. Donations to the current $200 million Third Century Campaign have been strong as well, with total gifts and commitments currently at $159,345,208, or nearly 80 percent of the goal.
Such generous support from its highly engaged alumni network undoubtedly occurs in part because Centre has maintained its reputation for excellence for decades.
Currently ranked #46 for national liberal arts colleges, Centre has actually earned top-50 status for 21 of the last 22 years. Dating back to the ranking’s inception in 1983, the College has been in the top-50 all but four years.
Typical of previous years, Centre also excelled in other categories, coming in at #31 in the nation in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category, #16 in the “Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching” category, and #3 for study abroad.
Finally, besides high retention rates in the low- to mid-90 percent range and graduation rates in the mid-80 percent range, Centre has met or exceeded recruitment goals. The last two years alone set new enrollment records. In the process, the academic profile has increased from an already strong position, and diversity has improved as well.
Once students complete their Centre education, an average 97 percent are employed or pursuing advanced study within 10 months of graduation.
Complete information about the 2018 U.S. News “Operational Efficiency” ranking is available here.
by Michael Strysick
November 30, 2017