Skip area navigation

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

September 13, 2016

For the 23rd consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named OBU as Oklahoma's highest ranked college on the “Best Regional Colleges of the West” list. OBU also ranked in the top five “Least Debt” regional colleges list and placed sixth on the “Great Schools, Great Prices” list for Western universities. OBU is the only Oklahoma college listed on the “A-Plus Schools for B Students” list for regional colleges.

The exclusive rankings, which include more than 1,400 schools nationwide, were released Sept. 13. They also will be published in the 2016 edition of the “Best Colleges 2017,” available online now and on newsstands Oct. 4.

“We are pleased to once again receive this recognition from U.S. News & World Report,” said OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock. “For nearly a quarter of a century, these rankings have formally recognized the achievements of our faculty, staff, and students, along with our University’s commitment to the highest levels of excellence in academic achievement. These rankings reflect the tireless efforts and dedication of all of the OBU community to the mission of our University, as we aspire to offer the finest quality Christian liberals arts education available anywhere in the world.”

OBU is ranked fifth on the list of “Best Regional Colleges of the West.” This is the 25th 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 mostly on the undergraduate experience, including institutions that offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts, as well as fields such as business, education and nursing.

“These rankings once again serve to recognize OBU's commitment to the highest levels of excellence in Christian higher education,” said Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life. “Our faculty invest their lives in our students and desire to see them succeed academically. Our prayer is that God will use our efforts to impact each and every student, transforming them into the world changers God created them to be. The dedicated efforts of our world-class faculty make these annual rankings possible.”

OBU ranked fourth on the “Regional Colleges of the West” list for the “Least Debt” rankings, underscoring the affordability and value of an education at OBU. This list was calculated according to the average debt loads for the graduating class of 2015.

OBU placed sixth on the “Great Schools, Great Prices” list for Western universities, the only university in Oklahoma to make the top ten. The calculations for the “Great Schools, Great Prices” rankings take into account a school's academic quality, based on its U.S. News “Best Colleges” ranking, and the 2015-16 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.

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 by weighing many factors, including 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).