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Minnesota State Mankato Moves Up in 'Best Colleges' Rankings
University is ranked six spots higher in the Midwest Region in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report's Best College rankings.
Jessica Bies, Mankato Free Press, 9-10-2014
Both Gustavus Adolphus College and Minnesota State University, Mankato moved up in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report’s Best College rankings, released online early Tuesday.
Gustavus Adolphus College of St. Peter is ranked No. 64 among Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. This is the highest Gustavus has appeared on the list in recent history and represents a jump of 12 spots — in the 2014 rankings, the college was ranked No. 76.
The ranking is the highest the college has gotten in almost a decade.
“It’s affirmation of our approach to education, the quality of our education and really an affirmation of liberal arts education in the way that Gustavus does it,” Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman said.
Minnesota State Mankato ranked 69th among four-year institutions in the 12-state Midwest region, tying with colleges such as University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Last year it ranked 75th.
Dan Benson, director of media relations at Minnesota State Mankato, said the university is pleased with the results and that the rankings are commonly used by students and parents looking at colleges.
U.S. News & World Report has been publishing college rankings since 1985 and is widely considered to be the most respected resource for parents and prospective students when it comes to such rankings.
Its methodology is based on several key measures of quality including graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.
Minnesota State Mankato improved in several of those areas this year, Benson said. Not only did its first-year student’s one-year retention rate increase from 70 percent to 74 percent, class sizes decreased.
The percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students went from 31.6 percent to 35.3 percent, while the percentage of classes with more than 50 students went from 8.1 percent to 7.9 percent.
“More of our classes are smaller, less of our classes are larger,” Benson said.
But the rankings are just one way for recent high school graduates to get an idea of what Minnesota State Mankato is like, Benson said. Though they can be an important part of a prospective student’s decision-making process, soon-to-be freshmen are encouraged to consider multiple factors when picking a college.
“We also encourage prospective students to make individual contact with the schools they’re interested in and hopefully make personal visits to campus,” Benson said.
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