ST. GEORGE — Both Dixie State and Southern Utah universities received national recognition for ranking on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of 2021 best colleges and universities.
The report, now in its 36th year, assesses 1,452 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the U.S. by looking at 17 areas of academic excellence. Each factor has its own weighted value. The highest weighted factor at 40% has to do with graduation rates, specifically a school’s success in retaining and graduating students within six years.
The study also looks at student excellence, alumni giving, faculty and financial resources and peer assessment surveys.
For the third consecutive year, Dixie State University has been ranked as one of the nation’s best colleges and universities. This time, Dixie State ranked seventh in the top public schools in the West as well as ranking 12th in top performers on social mobility among regional colleges in the West and 24th in regional colleges in the West on the 2021 list.
In a statement issued by Dixie State, Richard B. Williams, president of Dixie State, said this report serves as another indicator of the success of their most recent strategic plan, Dixie 2020: Status to Stature.
“I am proud of our faculty and staff as we rank a little higher each year,” Williams said.
One of the areas where Dixie State ranked for the first time was the social mobility category, which recognizes colleges that successfully enroll and graduate large proportions of economically disadvantaged students who are less likely than others to graduate.
“We are thrilled with our newest ranking in the social mobility category, which will support the efforts of our next strategic plan of being an open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic university,” Williams said.
Dixie State offers more than 200 academic programs, small class sizes – with an average class size of 20 – and 85 campus clubs. The university also offers personalized, engaged learning experiences under the direction of dedicated faculty and staff.
Southern Utah University ranked the best public regional university in Utah and third in the Mountain West region. In addition, SUU is the top-rated regional university in the West, No. 3 in the United States for lowest student debt and the 34th “Best Value” in the West, which includes regional universities in states from the Pacific coast to Texas.
In a press release issued by SUU, Scott Wyatt, president of the university, said they have long prioritized a focus on providing quality academic excellence while ensuring students aren’t overloaded with debt upon graduation.
“Higher education excellence and affordability are not mutually exclusive and this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings confirm our commitment to providing both to our students at SUU,” he added.
According to the statement, SUU has shown an overall year-to-year increase in the key factors used to determine the overall rankings. One key factor that showed improvement was its ranking for the least amount of student dept. Last year SUU was ranked number seventh nationally. This year it ranked third.
Since 2019, SUU has lowered tuition for online-only students, launched a three-year undergraduate degree program to save students time and money, reorganized colleges and programs to give students a more coordinated effort in their academic pursuits and has not increased tuition, its second straight year.
In addition, SUU recently moved to eliminate standardized tests in the admissions process and became the first university in Utah to make them optional in qualifying for academic scholarships.
For the U.S. News & World Report’s list of 2021 best colleges and universities methodology, click here.
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