OBU Earns Top Rankings for Best Regional Colleges by U.S. News & World Report

September 9, 2015

The exclusive rankings, which include more than 1,400 schools nationwide, were released Sept. 9. They will also be published in the 2016 edition of the "Best Colleges 2016," available online and on newsstands Sept. 29.

"We are pleased once again to receive this recognition from U.S. News & World Report," said OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock. "For more than two decades, these rankings have publicly recognized the commitment to excellence and the vision for academic success which we value so highly at OBU. These rankings are the direct result of the dedication of our faculty, staff and students to the mission of this university, as we strive to deliver the highest quality Christian liberal arts education."

OBU is ranked fourth on the list of "Best Regional Colleges of the West," retaining its same ranking as 2015. This is the 24th consecutive year OBU has been ranked in the top 10. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the "Best Regional Colleges" focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience, including institutions that offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts, such as business, education and nursing.

"These rankings recognize yet again 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 are fully committed to the success of our students, and we are excited to see this recognition for their sacrifice and dedication. Their efforts make these annual rankings a reality."

OBU ranked ninth 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. The university moved up one spot from last year's ranking of 10th.

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" ranking, and the 2014-15 net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools in or near the top half of their U.S. News ranking categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that perform well academically.

"We are grateful for the continued recognition of OBU's high standards of excellence by U.S. News and World Report," said Bruce Perkins, associate vice president of enrollment management. "These rankings attest to the quality of academic instruction, the high degree of student satisfaction, and the affordability of an OBU degree. We are excited to see that our story, and the impact this university is making on so many lives, is being recognized throughout the nation."

OBU was one of only two institutions to qualify on the Regional Colleges of the West list for "A-Plus Schools for B Students." These rankings are based on two variables, the school's performance in the U.S. News & World Report's "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.

According to information provided by U.S. News, their annual 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.