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WMU again on U.S. News list of top-tier national universities

by Cheryl Roland

Sept. 14, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Western Michigan University, a top 100 national university.
WMU—top 100 national university
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is one of just four Michigan universities included in the U.S. News & World Report's annual list of top-tier national universities released today.

The publication's 2012 ranking of more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities was unveiled at and will be available in a Sept. 20 print guidebook on newsstands. WMU is among the 280 institutions--172 public, 101 private and seven for-profit--the magazine singles out as having national standing and being among the nation's best. WMU's numerical rank this year is 181 among the total group, making it one of the top 100 public universities to make the list.

This is the 21st year WMU has appeared in the magazine's top grouping of "best national universities." The top 75 percent of the nation's schools are given a numeric ranking. The schools in the bottom 25 percent of the group are listed alphabetically and without ranking as the second tier.

Four Michigan public universities are among the schools numerically ranked in the top tier of public and private institutions that is led by Harvard, Princeton and Yale in the top three slots.

Top Tier Michigan Universities

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Western Michigan University

Another three Michigan schools appear in the unranked lower tier of "best national universities." They are Central Michigan, Oakland and Wayne State universities. Several other state schools are on the magazine's various lists of top liberal arts schools and regional top master's-level universities and baccalaureate colleges.

WMU was first named to the overall "Best National Universities" list in 1991 and moved up to the third of four tiers on the 1999 list. The publication eliminated the four-tier system last year when it moved to the two groups of ranked and unranked schools. The widely read U.S. News list is based on 16 criteria, including academic reputation, retention and graduation rates, student/faculty ratios, class size, faculty resources, student test scores and alumni giving.

Last month, WMU was named one of the "Best Midwestern Colleges" by Princeton Review. This is the seventh year the University has been honored with that designation, which was made to 153 schools in 12 states. The list is compiled using institutional data, visits to schools and the opinions of college counselors and advisors. An important element of the selection process is an 80-question student survey.

About WMU

WMU has an enrollment of more than 25,000 students and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a university with high research activity. The University offers more than 230 degree programs, including 29 at the doctoral level and has regional sites at seven locations around Michigan. The University attracts students from every state in the union and 94 other nations, and its more than 900 faculty members have been trained at some of the world's finest institutions.