Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 6:17 am
By TONY BROWN Staff writer, Maryville Daily Forum
Northwest Missouri State University is included as a ranked institution in U.S. News & World Report’s “2016 Best Colleges” survey, which declared the school to be the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri for the second consecutive year.
U.S. News placed Northwest at No. 74 on its list of “Best Regional Universities” in the Midwest, up six spots from last year.
The Midwest regional schools roster includes public and private universities in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
A number of Missouri campuses placed higher than Northwest on the Midwest regional list. All are either private colleges or state-assisted institutions with more rigorous admissions standards.
Those schools include Truman State University in Kirksville, a “highly selective” institution that tied with the University of Evansville (Indiana) for the No. 8 spot; Drury University in Springfield, No. 11; Rockhurst University in Kansas City, which tied for 18th with the University of Northern Iowa; Webster University in St. Louis, No. 26; and Missouri State University, No. 64, a “selective” university whose admissions standards are a step below Truman and a notch above Northwest.
There are only three other moderately selective state-assisted public universities in Missouri aside from Northwest: the University of Central Missouri, Missouri Southern State University, and Southeast Missouri State University.
Of those three, Northwest edged out the University of Central Missouri, which US news ranked at No. 75 in an eight-way tie with Wayne State College in Nebraska, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Concordia University in Chicago, and the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Nebraska.
Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau claimed another of the 112 ranked positions at No. 92. Other Missouri Midwest regionals finishing below Northwest included Fontbonne University in St. Louis, No. 85, and Williams Woods University in Fulton, which placed 90th.
Also on the ranked list, at No. 85, is Northwest’s arch-rival on the football field, Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.
President John Jasinski hailed the ranking as an indication that “Northwest continues to deliver academic excellence.”
“Our focus is on people, relationships, and student success, and we deliver on those objectives through profession-based experiences and programming,” Jasinski was quoted as saying in a university release. “I thank all who help us help students succeed, build better communities, and deliver economic impact.”
To develop its survey, U.S. News analyzes a wide variety of data, including statistics on freshman retention, graduation rates, class sizes, ACT and SAT scores, financial aid, and alumni giving.
The survey reported Northwest’s freshman retention rate, a common measure of student satisfaction, at 68 percent, which university officials said places the school in the 66th percentile of its national peer group. In addition, Northwest had a fall 2014 the applicant acceptance rate of just under 74 percent.
Degree programs at Northwest attracting the most students, the survey stated, include business, management, and marketing; education; agriculture and related sciences; psychology; and communication, journalism, and related disciplines.
U.S. News reported that Northwest has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 5,500 students with a gender distribution of 44.7 percent male and 55.3 percent female. The consumer news organization also found that 41 percent of students live in campus housing.
Other statistics presented in a survey profile show that 68.7 percent of full-time undergraduates at Northwest receive some kind of needs-based financial aid, and that the average needs-based scholarship or grant award is $5,602.
Standard tuition and fees at Northwest, according to its website, total just under $8,000 a year for Missouri residents, assuming a student course load of 14 credit hours.
Northwest’s fall enrollment of 6,415 students on the first day of class included 1,478 first-time freshmen, which represents an 11-percent increase over last year and ranks as one of the largest freshman classes in the institution’s history.