For the 21st consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report listed OBU as Oklahoma's highest ranked college on the "Best Regional Colleges of the West" list for 2015. OBU is also ranked in the top ten "Great Schools, Great Prices" regional colleges and is the only Oklahoma college on "A-Plus Schools for B Students" for regional colleges.
The exclusive rankings, which include more than 1,400 schools nationwide, were released Sept. 9. They also will be published in the 2015 edition of the "Best Colleges Guidebook," available online and on newsstands Sept. 23.
"We are pleased to once again receive this recognition from U.S. News & World Report," said OBU President David W. Whitlock. "For more than two decades, these rankings have recognized the commitment to excellence and the vision for academic success which we hold dear at OBU. The dedication of our faculty, staff and students to the university's mission helps OBU deliver the highest quality Christian liberal arts education."
According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the "Best Regional Colleges" focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience. These institutions offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts, such as business, education and nursing. OBU is ranked fourth on the list of "Best Regional Colleges of the West," moving up from fifth last year.
"These rankings recognize OBU's commitment to the highest level of academic excellence," said Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life. "Our faculty and staff work tirelessly for our students, and we are excited to see this recognition for their hard work and sacrifice. Their dedication and efforts make achievements like this a reality."
The calculations for the "Great Schools, Great Prices" rakings take into account a school's academic quality, based on its U.S. News "Best Colleges" 2014 ranking, and the 2013-14 net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. OBU ranked 10th on the "Regional Colleges of the West" list for the "Great Schools, Great Prices" rankings, underscoring the affordability and value of an education at OBU.
"National rankings continue to place OBU at the forefront of colleges and universities in our state and region," said Bruce Perkins, associate vice president of enrollment management. "These rankings attest to the quality of the academic education afforded OBU students, the high degree of satisfaction our students express with their overall university experience, and the affordability of a degree earned on Bison Hill. We are also known for the learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom that enrich a student's faith and encourage service to others - both immeasurable qualities that make a difference in our communities. OBU offers an excellent, well-rounded educational experience that fully prepares students to live significant lives."
The "A-Plus Schools for B Students" rankings are based on two variables: the school's performance in the U.S. News & World Report's "2014 Best Colleges" rankings and the average freshman retention rate. The list includes exceptional colleges and universities which provide resources for academically average students to achieve success. OBU was one of only two institutions to qualify on the Regional Colleges of the West list.
According to information provided by U.S. News, the rankings system rests on two pillars. It relies on quantitative measures which education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, and on the magazine's nonpartisan view of "what matters in education." First, schools are categorized by mission, which is derived from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Carnegie classification has been the basis of the Best Colleges ranking since U.S. News's first publication three decades ago.
The Best Colleges package then examines how schools compare on a set of up to 16 indicators of excellence. Among the factors weighed in determining the rankings are: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), assessment of excellence (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent), and alumni giving (5 percent). A more detailed explanation is available on the U.S. News website.