Higher Ed Rankings Put Inland NW Schools in First Tier

By Tom Bacon

In the new rankings of the U.S. colleges and universities published by U.S. News and World Report, a couple of Spokane institutions landed in the first tier of regional universities.

If Gonzaga grads and students seem a bit more smug this week, while WSU alumni and students are more dour, there's a reason. The 2014 U.S. News school rankings are out. In the magazine's list of top regional universities, Gonzaga ranked number four in the west, Whitworth University was not far behind at number nine, and across the Cascades, Seattle University came in at number six.

Eastern Washington University was much farther down, at number 60 in the western regional rankings. On the list of national universities, eastern schools such as Princeton and Harvard dominated the top ranks, but the University of Washington was ranked number 52 in the nation. Washington State University sits at the 128th spot.

UW ranked high in part for its 12-1 student to faculty ratio, and because about 37% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.

The U.S. News poll ranked 1,800 schools across the country. Researchers tweaked the methodology this year, giving more importance to student retention and graduation rates, and less to high school rankings for incoming freshmen.
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