U.S. News ranks Northwestern as Oklahoma's top-rated regional university

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U.S. News ranks Northwestern as Oklahoma's top-rated regional university

August 17, 2010

Northwestern Oklahoma State University continues to receive national recognition from U.S. News and World Report in its America’s Best Colleges 2011 rankings that were released today.

For the fourth consecutive year, Northwestern is the highest ranked public regional university in Oklahoma. The magazine listed Northwestern as the 23rd rated regional college in the western United States.

The west region encompasses 13 states including Texas and California. The United States Air Force Academy was the top-ranked school in the region.

Only one other Oklahoma regional institution received a numerical ranking in either the regional university or regional college category. All others were placed together as second tier institutions.

U.S. News also listed Northwestern as the top-ranked regional college in the western United States in terms of lowest debt load of graduating students. Only 49 percent of Northwestern students graduated with debt, averaging $9,381 per student. The percentage of students graduating with debt has dropped seven percentage points in three years. The dollar amount of average debt dropped $2,160 from last year.

The low amount of student debt also placed Northwestern second nationally in the regional college category. Only the federally-subsidized U.S. Merchant Marine Academy was lower.

“Our institutional ranking represents a dedicated effort from our faculty and staff to serve our students,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “The fact that we are a national leader in low student debt is especially pleasing to me. The support we receive from our alumni and community has allowed Northwestern to become an outstanding college value.”

The annual rankings use data in several categories including graduation rates, retention rates, ACT/SAT scores, class size and student/faculty ratio. The rankings also rely heavily on peer assessment, or the opinion of other schools about Northwestern.