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Website Ranks UW No. 1 for Academic Quality, Affordability, Accessibility

December 5, 2014
people walking on campus
The University of Wyoming ranks highly in new nationwide ratings that emphasize academic quality, affordability and accessibility. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming is the No. 1 university in the nation for out-of-state students in a new ranking list that takes into account academic quality, affordability and accessibility.

In addition, UW ranks No. 12 in the country for in-state students based upon those same factors, according to the “Best Colleges and Universities 2014 A-List” released recently by CollegeAtlas.org.

The Utah-based website, which bills itself as “the encyclopedia of higher education,” says its rankings were based upon academic quality (40 percent), affordability (28 percent), acceptance rates (27 percent) and other factors such as enrollment size (5 percent). Academic quality is determined through a combination of US News & World Report and Forbes undergraduate rankings.

“Scoring well in college rankings generally is not a priority for UW, as there’s such a wide variety of them, and many reward exclusivity, which is contrary to our mission as Wyoming’s only public university,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “While we continue to encourage prospective students and parents to view college rankings with skepticism, we’re happy to see a set of rankings that recognizes UW’s great academic and economic value, as well as accessibility.”

The CollegeAtlas.com rankings of the top universities for out-of-state students, in which UW is ranked No. 1, can be found at www.collegeatlas.org/best-colleges-and-universities/undergrad-national-overall/out-of-state.

The list of top universities for in-state students, in which UW is No. 12, are available at www.collegeatlas.org/best-colleges-and-universities/undergrad-national-overall/in-state.

“It is no secret that the top-ranked universities are hard to get into and seem to be raising tuition every year. In this economy, traditional college rankings are missing the mark…,” the website reads. “The A-Lists use a new ranking methodology to shine a spotlight on universities that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle, resulting in a lineup of colleges and universities that deliver the best academic and economic value to students, while admitting a relatively high percentage of applicants.”

UW’s tuition for resident undergraduates is the lowest among the nation’s 173 public doctoral degree-granting institutions, meeting the Wyoming constitutional mandate that UW tuition remain “as nearly free as possible” for residents. UW’s nonresident tuition is among the lowest in the country.

UW’s 96 percent student acceptance rate, meanwhile, is among the highest in the nation. “As a general rule, most A-List schools accept a high percent of students who apply, with some schools approaching 90-100 percent acceptance,” says CollegeAtlas.org.

“Often the quality of a school is tied to a low acceptance rate. The rationale for this is obvious -- lots of students want to attend a great school and the school can be picky about who it accepts, resulting in an ‘elite’ status and a really talented student body. But there are only thousands of such spots, and millions of prospective college students,” the website says. “The A-List is designed to expose schools with the unique combination of strong academics and high acceptance rates -- a combination that is definitely a good thing.”

For more about the methodology used by CollegeAtlas.org, go to www.collegeatlas.org/the-a-list-faq.html.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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