U.S. News has once again ranked Union among the “Best Colleges” in America, placing the school at #15 in its category out of 83 Midwestern regional colleges. This is the highest position the publication has ever given Union College. Earning 74 out of 100 possible points, Union had the highest raw score of any Seventh-day Adventist college or university in the nation as well as the top score in Nebraska regardless of category.
The college also placed in the top tier of two additional lists:
- #10 in Best Value Schools
- #16 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
“We are laser-focused on the success of our students, both helping them find their God-given purpose and unlocking their God-given potential,” said Vinita Sauder, college president. “Union’s faculty, staff and alumni sacrifice to ensure a high-quality education is accessible to as many students as possible. These rankings are really a testament to their devotion.”
U.S. News has published its annual “Best Colleges” list since 1983. Changes in a school’s rank are most often due to adjustments in the methodology used rather than changes on campus. This year, U.S. News updated its methodology to deemphasize input factors such as spending, alumni giving and the high school class standing of first-year students. Instead, the editors gave greater weight to outcomes such as social mobility, graduation rates, manageable debt and post-graduation success.
“No dataset is ever going to capture the moments that truly set Union College apart — the deep connections made with friends, mentors and God,” Sauder said. “However, it is incredibly validating to have an outside organization look at the things we’ve been doing for a long time and say, in essence, ‘yes, that’s the direction educators should be heading.’”
Union saw a very positive data trend in retention this year: 83 percent of last year’s incoming class continued their education at Union compared to the 5-year average of 73.5 percent.
“For context, our retention rate is now a full five percent ahead of the other private colleges and universities in Nebraska,” Sauder said. “Retention is a leading indicator of student satisfaction and success, and whether it’s providing free tutoring, regular check-ins with life coaches, soup suppers at faculty homes or any of the thousands of other ways our campus family provides support and encouragement, the numbers tell us that our students are seeing the value of their Union College experience.”
by Scott Cushman, director of digital communication