By Ellen Cicchitti
In an annual report made by U.S. News & World Report, released Sept. 12 for the 2017-2018 academic year, DeSales University was ranked No. 64 in North Regional Universities, out of a ranking of 196. It was also ranked No. 42 in the category of Best Value Schools, out of a ranking of 84. Over 1,806 schools across the United States were studied, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
In the report, DeSales University also tied with the College at Brockport, the State University of New York, in Brockport, New York; Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey; Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island; Philadelphia University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts in the North Regional Universities category.
The category of Best Value Schools was an additional ranking to previous rankings like Regional Universities, National Universities or Regional Colleges. This extra subcategory cut the university pool down to a smaller size, and as previously stated, for the Regional Universities North, only 84 schools were ranked in the Best Value Schools category.
The school ranked No. 1 in Best Value category was Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., while Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, was ranked No. 1 in the Regional Universities North category.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the universities based on a number of factors. The seven key college data that go into the rankings are as followed, calculated from most important to least important: graduation and retention rates, undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving rate.
For graduation and retention rate, two components are measured: a six-year graduation rate, indicated by the average proportion of students earning a degree in six years or less and first-year retention rate, which is determined by how many students return to and remain at the university after their first years.
The undergraduate academic reputation rate is determined by the opinions of those “in a position to judge a school’s undergraduate academic excellence.” For Regional Universities and Colleges, the category in which DeSales University was ranked, the measure relied on one assessment score by an academic peer group, which allows deans and presidents to account for “intangibles” like “faculty dedication to teaching.”
Faculty resources were determined by five factors: class size, faculty salary, the proportion of professors with highest degrees in their fields, the student-faculty ratio and proportion of faculty who are full-time. These factors help evaluate a university’s commitment to instructing and helping students.
As for student selectivity, three components were measured. One factor is the admissions test scores for all enrollees who took the SAT critical reading and math portions and the ACT. The second factor, for Regional Universities, is the proportion of enrolled first-year students who graduated in the top quarter of their high school classes. The third component is the acceptance rate or ratio of “students admitted to applicants,” according to the U.S. News & World Report.
For the set of data on financial resources, U.S. News & World Report measured the “average spending per student on instruction, research and student services” in the 2015 and 2016 years. Money spent on dorms, sports or hospitals was not factored into the equation.
Graduation rate performance was calculated on the difference between a school’s six year graduation rate for a certain class and the rate that U.S. News & World Report had predicted for the class. For example, if DeSales University’s actual graduation rate for the 2010 entering class is higher than the rate that U.S. News & World Report predicted, then DeSales University is over-performing. If it’s lower, then the University is under-performing.
For the final set of data, the alumni giving rate, it indicates the amount of living alumni with bachelor’s degrees who gave to DeSales University during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. It is the lowest indicator of the set of data, but it helps provide a measure of student satisfaction.