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MU Improves In 2021 U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges Rankings

MU tied with eight other institutions to rank No. 124 out of 389 institutions in the National University ranking group of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2021 rankings.

This is up 15 from MU’s ranking as No. 139 last year, along with seven other schools.

MU tied with six other institutions to rank No. 86 out of 142 institutions in Best Colleges for Veterans, a growth of 13 spots from last year’s ranking of No. 99, according to an MU news release. MU also jumped five spots to No. 85 out of 180 institutions in Best Value Schools.

Other areas of improvement included MU’s six-year graduation rate and peer evaluation, according to the news release.

Since 1983, the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking has been a resource for students and their families to evaluate colleges and universities across the U.S., according to the U.S. News website.

The 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges list is a compilation of rankings for 1,452 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions nationwide. The 2021 data was gathered from fall 2019 or earlier and was not affected by schools’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. News website’s description of ranking calculations.

U.S. News evaluates the academic quality by placing each institution into 10 ranking groups. Within these are four main groups: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges. Institutions in both regional groups are further grouped by geographical location into North, South, Midwest and West.

Once placed in a ranking group, each institution was evaluated using 17 ranking factors. These were summed up in nine main categories, according to the U.S. News website’s detailed breakdown of the ranking factors.

Of the nine, the three factors that held the most weight were graduation and retention rates, undergraduate academic reputation and faculty resources for 2019-2020 academic year.

Institutions were further ranked in focused groups based on the types of degrees and programs they offered and other markers, including Best Value Schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Top Public Schools. U.S. News includes a complete list of its ranking groups online.

Stephens College ranked No. 46 in Regional Universities Midwest, and Columbia College ranked in a range, Nos. 119-156, in the same ranking group.

Stephens, Columbia College and MU each ranked in the Top Performers on Social Mobility group. Stephens ranked No. 3 with Columbia College at No. 153 and MU at No. 353. According to the rankings criteria, social mobility “measures a school’s success at graduating Pell Grant students, who are people from low-income backgrounds.”

According to the MU release, the six-year graduation rate for students who receive Pell Grants rose to 59%, up from 55% last year.