Gonzaga’s Graduation and Freshman Retention Rates
Rank No. 2 in West; Engineering Ranks 27th Nationwide
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University moved up one spot to reclaim the West’s No. 3 best “Regional University” spot in U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings, released today. Gonzaga ranks No. 2 in the West for both its average freshmen retention rate and average graduation rate. Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is ranked the No. 27 best undergraduate engineering program in the nation (at engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s), tied with nine schools. Gonzaga also remains the No. 4 best value in the region.
Nationwide, only seven regional universities – six in the North and Santa Clara in the West – top Gonzaga’s 81 percent average graduation rate. Gonzaga’s 92 percent average freshmen retention rate (for freshmen entering in 2006 through 2009) tops all but four regional universities nationwide; in the West, only Santa Clara’s average freshman retention rate (93 percent) was higher.
This marks the 13th consecutive year that Gonzaga has been ranked among the West’s top four regional universities, and the 17th consecutive year (24th in the past 27 years) it has been ranked among the West’s best regional universities. Gonzaga was last ranked the No. 3 best regional university in the West in the 2010 publication (released in September 2009).
Gonzaga ranks third among the top 88 schools in its classification for alumni giving as 20 percent of living undergraduate alumni with bachelor’s degrees from the Spokane, Wash.-based Jesuit and Catholic university gave back to Gonzaga in 2008-09 and 2009-10, an indirect measure of student satisfaction. Among Gonzaga’s peers in the top 50 regional universities in the West, only Mills College (California; 22 percent) ranked higher for alumni giving.
Gonzaga’s overall ranking is based on a host of indicators of academic excellence, including: peer assessment (25 percent); graduation and retention rates (25 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (15 percent); financial resources (10 percent); and alumni giving (5 percent).
The publication rates Gonzaga the No. 4 best value among West regional universities based on the 2010-2011 net cost of attendance – $25,716 – for undergraduates who receive the average level of need-based financial aid; 57 percent of GU students received need-based grants in 2010.
The Regional Universities classification includes 626 universities within four geographical regions – North, South, Midwest and West – that provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs. Regional universities offer few if any doctoral programs, the key distinction between regional and national universities.
Gonzaga’s mission to care for the individual student is evidenced by its 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio (2010). Only 2 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included more than 50 students in 2010, and 41 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included fewer than 20 students (2010). Gonzaga also ranks high in the publication’s measure of the academic quality of incoming freshmen. Seventy-three percent of Gonzaga freshmen that entered in fall 2010 ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class. Three of the top four Regional Universities in the West are Jesuit institutions: Santa Clara (No. 2), Gonzaga (No. 3), and Loyola Marymount (No. 4).
The 350-page 2012 edition of the Best Colleges guidebook is available at USNews.com and will be on newsstands Sept. 20.
The Top 10 Regional Universities in the West
1. Trinity University (Texas)
2. Santa Clara University (CA)
3. Gonzaga University (WA)
4. Loyola Marymount University (CA)
5. Mills College (CA)
6. Seattle University
7. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
7. Chapman University (CA)
9. University of Portland (OR)
9. Whitworth University (WA)