Higher Education

'Best Colleges' ranks West Michigan schools

September 18, 2015
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The 256,096-square-foot Richard M. DeVos Center is a key part of GVSU’s Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy GVSU

Colleges across West Michigan have received their grades from U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report released last week the 2016 edition of its “Best Colleges” ranking, which features 11 West Michigan colleges among the nearly 1,376 schools ranked on their academic quality.

"Place to start" evaluation

The 31st edition of the “Best Colleges” ranking provides an evaluation of U.S.-based schools for both domestic and international students.

Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News, said for students to find the best fit, they should consider a range of factors from financial aid offerings and location to campus size and majors.

“Taking into account how well a student supports its students from freshman year through graduate is important,” Kelly said. “The process can be overwhelming, but our rankings and advice content are a great place to start.”

Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, said the organization is the only one that has ranked schools for more than three decades.

“Over that time, we have improved our information and sharpened our methodology’s focus, with one of the biggest updates being a greater consideration of output measurements,” Morse said.

Methodology

The “Best Colleges” ranking takes into account a number of measures, such as undergraduate academic reputation, retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance and alumni giving rate.

While U.S. News ranked about 1,376 schools, the organization compiled data on roughly 1,800 colleges for the 2016 edition and used various sources: colleges, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Council for Aid to Education and U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

To determine the rankings, U.S. News first divided the schools by their classifications, defined by the 2010 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. After categorizing each college as a National University, National Liberal Arts College, Regional University or Regional College, the schools were then evaluated based a series of 16 weighted indicators measuring academic excellence.

West Michigan schools in the 2016 “Best Colleges” ranking

Aquinas College: No. 54 Regional University Midwest, No. 40 Best Colleges for Veterans

Calvin College: No. 120 National Liberal Arts Colleges, No. 115 High School Counselor Rankings, No. 87 Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Undergraduate Engineering programs*

Cornerstone University: No. 108 Regional University Midwest, No. 82 Best Colleges for Veterans, No. 98 Online Bachelor programs, Online MBA programs**, Graduate Education programs**, Online Graduate Business programs***

Davenport University: No. 119 Online Bachelor programs, Online MBA programs**, Online Graduate Business programs**, Regional University Midwest**

Ferris State University: No. 61 Regional University Midwest, No. 15 Top Public Schools, No. 46 Best Colleges for Veterans, No. 111 Online Bachelor programs, No. 142 Online MBA programs, No. 71 Online Graduate Business programs, No. 46 Online Graduate Nursing programs, Best Undergraduate Engineering programs*, Best Nursing Schools**, Best Education Schools*** 

Grace Bible College: Regional College Midwest**

Grand Valley State University: No. 26 Regional University Midwest, No. 3 Top Public Schools, No. 14 Best Value Schools, No. 122 Part-time MBA, No. 100 Best Online Graduate Education programs, Best Undergraduate Business programs*, Best Undergraduate Engineering programs*, Best Business Schools***, Best Nursing Schools***

Hope College: No. 100 National Liberal Arts College, No. 88 High School Counselor Rankings, Best Undergraduate Engineering programs*

Kalamazoo College: No. 66 National Liberal Arts College, No. 57 High School Counselor Rankings, No. 49 Best Colleges for Veterans

Kuyper College: No. 69 Regional College Midwest

Western Michigan University: No. 187 National University, No. 105 Top Public Schools, No. 220 High School Counselor Rankings, No. 149 Best Colleges for Veterans, No. 107 Best Online Graduate Education programs, No. 173 Part-time MBA, Best Undergraduate Business programs*, Best Undergraduate Engineering programs*, Best Engineering Schools**, Best Business Schools***, Best Nursing Schools***

* rank is behind paywall
** rank not "published"
*** college is "unranked," due to the fact that it either doesn't use ACT or SAT scores, has an enrollment of less than 200 or has a high population of non-traditional students

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2015

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