In its annual comparison of colleges, U.S. News has once again designated Union College one of America’s “Best Colleges.” This year, Union is ranked number 32 in its category of Midwestern colleges. This is the eleventh consecutive year Union has earned a spot on the publication’s top-tier.
“U.S. News provides one of the oldest and best known tools for families to use in comparing institutions side by side, and we are always very excited that our hard work at Union College is recognized by their methodology,” said Vinita Sauder, president of Union College. “However, I wish there were a data set that encompasses the full college experience: teachers who care about students as individuals, the strengths of the friendships forged, even the quality of food in the cafeteria … so many of the ways Union College truly shines aren’t easily quantifiable.”
Areas in which Union College stood out noticeably above the institutions lower in the rankings include retention of first year students (72 percent), the percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (72 percent), the ratio of students to faculty (10:1), and Union’s percentage of alumni giving (22 percent). In a separate article outside of the rankings, Union College is also noted as having one of the highest percentages of international students among Midwestern colleges (8 percent).
The rankings have been published since 1983 as a tool for prospective students and their parents. While many in academia question the publication’s methodology and reject the premise of the rankings, the list remains the most well-known direct comparison of schools.
This year, 334 regional colleges, divided into four regions, are included in the report. The regional college category includes institutions with an undergraduate focus that grant fewer than 50 master’s degrees each year and offer a range of degrees in professional fields such as business, journalism, nursing and education with liberal arts degrees accounting for fewer than half of the bachelor’s degrees conferred.
Percentage of the score
|Survey of other college and university leaders||22.5%|
|Freshmen retention rate||4.5%|
|Six-year graduation rate||18%|
|Average faculty remuneration||7%|
|Proportion of professors with terminal degrees||3%|
|Proportion of full-time faculty||1%|
|Admissions test scores||8.125%|
|Percentage of students who graduated in the top quarter of their high school class||3.125%|
|Ratio of admitted students to applicants||1.25%|
|Average spending per student by the institution (excluding sports, dorms and hospitals)||10%|
|Graduation rate performance (the difference between actual graduation rate and the rate predicted by a statistical model)||7.5%|
|Percentage of alumni who donate to the school||5%|
By Scott Cushman, director of digital communication