University News
For Immediate Release: 
Dec 18 2003

Concord Achieves High Ranking in U.S. News & World Report

Athens, W. Va. – Concord College achieved a high ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, 2004 Edition.

U.S. News and World Report prepares an annual publication that is a major guide used by high school seniors and their parents nationwide in the process of selecting a college or university.

Concord College was ranked in the Comprehensive Colleges—Bachelor’s institutions, which focuses on undergraduate education and offers a wide range of degree programs in the liberal arts and in professional fields such as business, nursing and education. There are 324 comprehensive colleges in the nation, ranked within four regions: Midwest, North, South, and West.

The publication groups colleges and universities that are similar in mission, size and course offerings and then ranks them into tiers according to a variety of evaluation criteria, including academic reputation, freshman retention rate, student/faculty ratio and average graduation rate. Tier one is the highest ranking.

Concord is ranked in tier two, Southern Region, and, for the third year in a row, was listed in the top three in the “peer assessment” score. Schools that ranked in the first tier are private institutions with tuitions and fees that are much higher than Concord’s. “Second tier” schools ranked 28 through a tie at 53. There are four “tiers.”

Basically, peer assessment is a rating of “academic reputation” and counts for 25 percent of the institution’s score. Concord earned a 3.0 in peer assessment. The institution with the highest rating in Concord’s category earned a 3.3.

According to Rachel Hartigan Shea, reporter for U.S. News & World Report, “Two decades have passed since U.S. News & World Report first ranked colleges, and those years certainly have been tumultuous for higher education . . . more people than ever have signed on for a college education. Meanwhile, the ivory tower has been scaled by powerful market forces as financial realities have forced colleges to embrace such previously foreign concepts as ‘return on investment,’ ‘customer service,’ and ‘branding.’”

Vice President and Academic Dean, Dean Turner, noted that: “Landing a spot in ‘tier two’ is commendable. We are tied with WVU Institute of Technology (in Montgomery) with a score of 3.0 in peer assessment.

“Moreover, our alumni giving rate of 14 percent ties with Shepherd College (another state college in West Virginia), demonstrating the strong support of the College’s alumni.

“We believe that students look for an institution that is well respected academically. And, that their parents look for the same thing. In addition, faculty members are attracted to an institution with a good academic reputation.

“We continually strive to have a good academic reputation as it is very important to students when they go into the work place.”

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