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

Posted on September 9, 2013 in: Academics, Faculty & Staff, Feature Stories, Science, Spotlight, Students

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh engages with students during Orientation events this fall. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Graduation & Freshmen Retention Rates No. 2 in West;
School of Engineering and Applied Science 22nd Nationwide

SPOKANE, Wash. – In its annual college rankings released today, U.S. News & World Report rates Gonzaga University as the West’s 4th best regional university and 3rd best value. Gonzaga is No. 2 in the West for its average freshmen retention rate (tie) and average graduation rate. Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is the No. 22 (tie with seven other schools) best undergraduate engineering program nationwide (among engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s).

The publication rates Gonzaga the No. 3 best value among West regional universities based on the 2012-2013 net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid; 58 percent of Gonzaga students received need-based grants in 2012.

Gonzaga’s 92 percent average freshmen retention rate (for freshmen entering in fall 2008 through fall 2011 who returned the following year) tops all but five regional universities nationwide (and ties Cal Poly State University-San Luis Obispo). Gonzaga’s 81 percent average graduation rate tops all but 10 regional universities nationwide. The graduation rate indicates the average proportion of a graduating class earning a degree in six years or less (for entering classes from 2003 through 2006).

This marks the 15th consecutive year that Gonzaga has been ranked among the West’s top four regional universities, and the 19th consecutive year (26th in the past 29 years) it has been ranked among the West’s best regional universities.

Gonzaga ranks fifth among the top 90 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 2010-11 and 2011-12 — an indirect measure of student satisfaction.

Gonzaga’s overall ranking is based on a host of indicators of academic excellence, including: peer assessment (22.5 percent); graduation and retention rates (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).

The Regional Universities classification includes 621 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 difference 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 (2012-13). Only 2 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included more than 50 students in 2012-13, and 37 percent of Gonzaga’s classes included fewer than 20 students (2012-13). 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 2012 ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class. In an affirmation of the quality of Jesuit education, four of the top six Regional Universities in the West are Jesuit institutions: Gonzaga, Santa Clara University, Loyola Marymount  University, and Seattle University.

The rankings are available online at The print edition of the “Best Colleges 2014” guidebook will be available at newsstands on Sept. 24. 

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