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Forbes Ranks UW among the Nation's Top Public Colleges


August 7, 2009 — The University of Wyoming is listed 17th among "America's Best Public Colleges" in rankings released this week by Forbes.com. Additionally, Forbes ranked UW fifth among its "America's Best College Buys."

Forbes.com is the online home for all of Forbes print magazines (Forbes, Forbes Global and Forbes FYI), providing original reporting on business, technology, investing and lifestyle, as well as real-time business information news updates.

The 600 institutions of higher education in the ranking are schools that award undergraduate degrees or certificates requiring "four or more years" of study, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Only those schools categorized by the Carnegie Foundation as doctorate-granting universities, master's colleges and universities or baccalaureate colleges are included.

UW Provost Myron Allen noted people should be skeptical of oversimplified college rankings.

"Still, it's gratifying to see that UW scores well when rated on factors we regard as meaningful, like satisfaction with teaching, graduates' success, and graduation rates," he said.

Forbes describes its rankings methodology as "one that meets students needs. While some college rankings are based partly on school reputation as evaluated by college administrators and on the amount of money spent, we focus on things which directly concern incoming students: Will my courses be interesting and rewarding? Will I get a good job after I graduate? Is it likely I will graduate in four years? Will I incur a ton of debt getting my degree?"

To answer these questions, the staff at Center for College Affordability and Productivity gathered data from a variety of sources. They based 25 percent of the rankings on four million student evaluations of courses and instructors, as recorded on the Web site RateMyProfessors.com. Another 25 percent is based on post-graduate success, equally determined by enrollment-adjusted entries in Who's Who in America, and by salaries of graduates reported by Payscale.com. An additional 20 percent is based on the estimated average student debt after four years.

One-sixth of the rankings are based on four-year college graduation rates--half of that is the actual graduation rate, the other half the gap between the average rate and a predicted rate based on characteristics of the school. The last component is based on the number of students or faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive awards like Rhodes Scholarships.

The "Best Value Rankings took account not only of quality (as indicated by the main ranking of 600 schools) but also costs. "Where does a student get the most 'bang for the buck?'" Forbes explained.

The complete Best Public Colleges list can be found at http://tiny.cc/6ALPe.

The complete America's Best College Buys list can be found at http://tiny.cc/X9Rab.

Forbes is the second publication in recent weeks to rank UW among the nation's top colleges. UW is listed as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education in The Princeton Review's 2009 edition of "The Best 371 Colleges."

The book also lists UW as a Best Western College, a ranking that identifies "colleges that we feel stand out as academically excellent institutions of higher learning."

To review the rankings and read UW's review, visit http://tiny.cc/cOn8V.

Photo: Students enjoy a concert on Prexy's Pasture, a popular gathering place at the University of Wyoming.

Posted on Friday, August 07, 2009

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