Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks has been ranked as the second-best value in the South among Comprehensive Colleges (Bachelor's) by U.S. News & World Report in its 2002 guide to colleges and universities, announced Thursday.
Ozarks was also ranked for the third straight year as a "top tier" university in its Southern regional category. U.S. News ranks the colleges and universities in tiers, with the top 25 percent of the schools in each category placed in the top tier. In its annual "America’s Best Colleges" edition, which is scheduled to hit the newsstands on Monday, U.S. News & World Report ranked more than 1,400 accredited schools nationally based on such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. In the previous two years, Ozarks ranked in the top tier in the category of Regional Liberal Arts Colleges. In the 2002 "America’s Best Colleges," Ozarks was placed in a new category: Comprehensive Colleges (Bachelor’s). U.S. News defines Comprehensive Colleges (Bachelor’s) as institutions that focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs, both in the liberal arts, which account for fewer than half of their bachelor’s degrees, and in professional fields such as business and education. There are 322 colleges in the nation that fall under this category, according to the magazine. In the Best Values category, Ozarks tied with Kentucky Wesleyan College for second among the South’s 104 Comprehensive Colleges (Bachelor’s), behind first-place Claflin College of South Carolina. The value rankings evaluate the cost of attending a college or university relative to the quality of the institution, according to the magazine’s ranking system. "The University of the Ozarks continues to be recognized regionally and nationally for our academic quality and educational excellence," said Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece. "Our improved status in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking validates our success. We moved up within the list of first-tier colleges in the South from number 26 last year to number 12 currently. However, I am most proud of the fact that we are now recognized as being the number two best value in the South. That ranking is based upon quality of education an institution provides in comparison to the cost for that education. An Ozarks’ education is truly a best value education."