By Jeff Murphy, September 10, 2018
WARRENSBURG, MO – Getting a college education is one of the most important decisions
individuals make, and many students and their families often turn to well-known national
rankings to provide helpful information and guidance about where to pursue a degree.
Online and print publications by some of the most prestigious organizations, including
those rankings released by U.S. News & World Report, have named the University of Central Missouri on their lists of top universities.
On its list of 2019 Best Regional Universities, UCM moved up in the U.S. News & World Report rankings from 87th among institutions in the Midwest in 2018 to 81st (tie) in the latest rankings. The university also climbed from the 21st spot among Top Public Schools to 17th, and was ranked 50th (tie) among Best Colleges for Veterans and 63rd as a Best Value School.
Regional universities are institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate programs and provide graduate education at the master’s degree level. They offer few, if any, doctoral programs, although UCM does offer two cooperative doctorates. UCM was ranked among 659 Regional Universities, which includes 259 public, 388 private and 12 for-profit institutions.
U.S. News & World Report bases its rankings on many factors including data points related to 16 measures of academic quality. This year it updated its methodology to further emphasize student outcomes, which hold the most weight at 35 percent – up from the 30 percent last year, according to its 2019 Best Colleges website. This updated methodology also helps measure how well schools support low-income students through graduation.
"We are extremely pleased that the quality and value of education at UCM is recognized through rankings such as those provided by U.S. News & World Report, which is one of the leading organizations for sharing college-choice information, and are glad to know we are advancing in these rankings,” said Roger Best, interim president of UCM. “Although we advise all prospective students to thoroughly research choices before committing to a university or college, and while we understand this choice is based on many factors, we are confident that our focus on student engagement and success through excellent academic programs ensures our students attain a life-changing education and experience."
The U.S. News & World Report rankings add to previous recognition UCM received on an institution-wide basis. Utilizing results of a nationwide survey, which examines a range of key issues related to student engagement, interaction with teachers, and satisfaction with their experience in college, The Wall Street Journal/Times Education College Ranking included UCM among its list of best colleges earlier this month. The university also was recognized by Princeton Review in August as a Best Midwestern College for 2019 Best Colleges: Region by Region.
In publishing results online, Princeton Review, which does not provide numerical rankings, notes comments from students among factors contributing to a school’s inclusion as a Best College. Included is student input recognizing the university’s welcoming campus. Its notes, that “Typical UCM students are friendly, hard-working warm-hearted people from surprisingly diverse backgrounds (for a Midwestern school) and “most hail from working class or middle-class families.” Also included in the student comments are statements such as, “There is a large population of non-traditional students and the school goes out of its way to make sure those students have access to all the necessary resources.”