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U.S. News & World Report Ranks Gonzaga No. 4 Best Regional University in West, No. 3 Best Value

Gonzaga University freshmen experience Zag Spirit during Orientation Weekend last month. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Gonzaga freshmen experience Zag Spirit during Orientation Weekend last month. Ninety-two percent of GU freshmen entering between 2007 and fall 2010 returned for their sophomore year, topping the freshmen retention rate for all but four regional universities nationwide. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Gonzaga’s Freshmen Retention & Graduation Rates Both No. 2 in West;
School of Engineering and Applied Science Rises to 17th Nationwide

SPOKANE, Wash. – U.S. News & World Report released its annual college rankings Wednesday (Sept. 12), rating Gonzaga University as the 4th best Regional University in the West and the 3rd best value in the West. 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 rose 10 spots to become the No. 17 (tie) best undergraduate engineering program nationwide (among engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s).

Gonzaga’s 82 percent average graduation rate tops all but six regional universities nationwide, and its 92 percent average freshmen retention rate (for freshmen entering in 2007 through fall 2010 who returned the following year) tops all but four regional universities nationwide.

This marks the 14th consecutive year that Gonzaga has been ranked among the West’s top four regional universities, and the 18th consecutive year (25th in the past 28 years) it has been ranked among the West’s best regional universities.

The publication rates Gonzaga the No. 3 best value among West regional universities based on the 2011-2012 net cost of attendance – $26,786 – for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid; 59 percent of Gonzaga students received need-based grants in 2011.

Gonzaga ranks fourth among the top 89 schools in its classification for alumni giving. Seventeen percent of living undergraduate alumni with bachelor’s degrees from the Northwest’s oldest Jesuit, Catholic university made contributions to Gonzaga in 2009-10 and 2010-11 — an indirect measure of student satisfaction.

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 Regional Universities classification includes 625 universities within four broad geographical regions – North, South, Midwest and West. Like national universities, regional universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs; the key distinction between regional and national universities is the former offer few (if any) doctoral programs.

Gonzaga’s mission-focused care for the individual student is evidenced by its 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio (2011-12). Only 2 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included more than 50 students in 2011-12, and 42 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included fewer than 20 students (2011-12). Gonzaga also ranks high in the publication’s measure of the academic quality of incoming freshmen. Seventy-two percent of Gonzaga freshmen who entered in fall 2011 ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class. In an affirmation of the quality of Jesuit education, three of the top four Regional Universities in the West are Jesuit institutions: Santa Clara (No. 2), Loyola Marymount (No. 3), and Gonzaga (No. 4).

The 332-page 2013 edition of the Best Colleges guidebook is available at USNews.com and will be in stores Sept. 18. See U.S. News & World Report’s profile of Gonzaga.

The Top 10 Regional Universities in the West

1. Trinity University (Texas)
2. Santa Clara University (CA)
3. Loyola Marymount University (CA)
4.  Gonzaga University
5. Mills College (CA)
6. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
6. Chapman University (CA)
6. University of Portland (OR)
9. Whitworth University (WA)
10. Seattle University

 

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