WMU again named among 'best national universities' by U.S. News

by Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of WMU's Fountain Plaza.

WMU's Fountain Plaza

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—For the 24th consecutive year, Western Michigan University appears on U.S. News & World Report's list of "best national universities" and continues to move up in the group of schools the magazine calls the top tier of colleges and universities in the United States.

The 2015 ranking of more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities was released by U.S. News Sept. 9 and is available online at usnews.com. A print edition will appear at newsstands late this month.

WMU moves up eights spots on list

WMU is listed in the top tier among 280 national institutions—173 public, 100 private and seven in the for-profit arena. For the second year in a row, the University moved up eight spots on the list and is now among schools tied in the ranking at No. 173, making it among the top-100 public universities on the annual list. Other Michigan schools among the top-100 public universities are the University of Michigan, and Michigan State and Michigan Technological universities.

WMU first appeared on the magazine's list of "best national universities" in 1991. In 2011, U.S. News revamped its list to numerically rank those institutions like WMU that are in the top tier of schools. The colleges and universities in the best national universities second tier are listed alphabetically.

The rankings are based on 16 criteria that include academic reputation, retention and graduation rates, student-faculty ratios, class size, faculty resources, student test scores and alumni giving. Last year, the magazine reported, the rankings were redone to more heavily weigh "output measures that signal how well a school educates its students."

Ranking in other 'best' lists

Similar output measures came into play for another ranking released in late August. Washington Monthly ranked WMU No. 90 on its list of top national universities and No. 54 in its "best bang for the buck" category. Washington Monthly bases its rankings on what schools are doing for their students and the country. The overall list is based on three factors the publication characterizes as college qualities that are good for the nation—producing cutting-edge research and new Ph.Ds., encouraging students to give back to the nation through service, and promoting social mobility by recruiting and graduating low-income students.