OBU Named Oklahoma’s Best College, Best Buy by Forbes.com

Oklahoma Baptist University is the highest-ranked university in Oklahoma and among Southern Baptist-affiliated schools in the latest Forbes.com listing of "America's Best Colleges." OBU also is the top Oklahoma university in the new Forbes.com listing of "America's Best College Buys." Nationwide, OBU ranked 109th on the "America's Best Colleges" list among 600 undergraduate institutions rated by Forbes.com. The listings are based on an assessment of the quality of the education universities and colleges provide and how much their students achieve, according to the company's Web site. The rankings were determined through a process conducted by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Six other Oklahoma universities were listed in the rankings. Oklahoma Wesleyan University was at No. 155, the University of Oklahoma at No. 379, Oklahoma State University at No. 401, University of Central Oklahoma at No. 419, University of Tulsa at No. 511 and Oral Roberts University at No. 553. Other Southern Baptist-affiliated schools on the "Best Colleges" list include Carson-Newman College at No. 110, Mississippi College at No. 120, North Greenville University at No. 154, Ouachita Baptist University at No. 188, Union University at No. 278, Georgetown College at No. 315, William Jewell College at No. 317, Baylor University at No. 483, Mercer University at No. 488, and Belmont University at No. 532. In its inaugural list in 2008, OBU ranked first in Oklahoma and 163rd nationwide. In a new "America's Best College Buys" list, CCAP compiled a best-value ranking of the top 100 institutions in the United States, comparing school quality to cost. Nationwide, OBU ranked 74th on the list. Among Southern Baptist-affiliated institutions, Mississippi College ranked 24th and Ouachita Baptist University ranked 84th. The only other Oklahoma school ranked was Oklahoma State University at No. 85. According to its Web site, Forbes.com launched the "America's Best Colleges" rankings as an alternative to the traditional rankings released annually by U.S.News & World Report. Forbes.com is related to the business and financial news magazine Forbes.

"The staff at CCAP gathered data from a variety of sources," reported Richard Vedder and David M. Ewalt on Forbes.com. "They based 25 percent of the rankings on 4 million student evaluations of courses and instructors, as recorded on the Web site RateMyProfessors.com. Another 25 percent is based on post-graduate success, equally determined by enrollment-adjusted entries in Who' Who in America, and by a new metric, the average salaries of graduates reported by Payscale.com. An additional 20 percent is based on the estimated average student debt after four years. "One-sixth of the rankings are based on four-year college graduation rates - half of that is the actual graduation rate, the other half the gap between the average rate and a predicted rate based on characteristics of the school. The last component is based on the number of students or faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive awards like Rhodes Scholarships or Nobel Prizes."

As noted during its first report last year, the Forbes.com ranking relies entirely on outside databases and surveys rather than on the involvement or cooperation of the colleges. "It is important to note that if a school appears on this list at all, that indicates it meets a certain level of quality," Forbes.com stated. "According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than 4,000 college campuses in the U.S., and the CCAP ranks only the top 15 percent or so of all undergraduate institutions."

The full list can be found on Forbes' Web site at http://www.forbes.com/ by searching "America's Best Colleges."