‘U.S. News’ Ranks JMU As Top Public University in South

From: Public Affairs

James Madison University is the No. 1 public regional university in the South as ranked by “U.S. News & World Report’s” 2011 edition of “Best Colleges” guidebook. JMU has held the spot for 17 consecutive years.

JMU and Stetson University, a private school in Florida, tied for the No. 3 ranking in the Regional Universities South category. Two other private schools – Rollins College in Florida and Elon University in North Carolina – were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Regional Universities were designated as Universities-Master’s in last year’s “U.S. News” rankings.

Among the factors that figured into JMU’s favorable ranking are the university’s 92 percent average freshman retention rate, 81 percent average graduation rate, 16/1 student/faculty ratio and 86 percent of faculty who are full time. JMU’s freshman retention and graduation rates are both among the highest for schools in the complete “U.S. News” rankings report.

A total of 572 universities are included in the Best Regional Universities category of the news magazine’s college rankings. Institutions in the category provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs and few, if any, doctoral programs. JMU offers doctoral programs in clinical audiology, communication sciences and disorders, music, psychology and strategic leadership. The 572 universities in the category are ranked against their peer group in one of four geographic regions – North, South, Midwest and West.

JMU also is among 86 colleges and universities that were most often cited by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans who were asked to identify up to 10 schools in their “U.S. News” ranking category where the faculty has an unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching. JMU tied with Georgia College and State University, Lee University in Tennessee and The Citadel in South Carolina for the No. 6 ranking the Regional Universities South segment of the strong commitment to teaching category.

JMU is included in the magazine’s “A-Plus Schools for B Students” listing. Schools in the category had to be in the top half of their peer groups in the Best Colleges rankings and had to admit a meaningful proportion of non-“A” students, as indicated by the fall 2009 admissions data regarding SAT Critical Reading and Math or Composite ACT scores and high-school class standing.

The 2011 “Best Colleges” guidebook goes on sale Aug. 24. Highlights of the college rankings will be published in the September issue of “U.S. News & World Report,” which will be available Aug. 31.

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Aug. 17, 2010