Wash U, Truman State, Cottey College lead Missouri schools in annual ranking

Picking which colleges or universities to apply to can be a difficult decision. Students and their families are interested in application requirements, tuition and financial aid policies and student body demographics. In order to aid them in making a decision, U.S. News & World Report has released its annual Best Colleges rankings.

The latest edition provides data on more than 1,800 colleges and universities, with rankings for more than 1,400 institutions.

In the national university category, which includes research institutions with a range of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs, Washington University in St. Louis has the highest ranking of any Missouri university, tied for 16th. That’s up three spots from last year. The university ranks No. 20 on the U.S. News list of “value schools” and No. 50 on its “innovative schools” list.

St. Louis University is next, tied for 103rd among national universities. The school is 48th on the value schools list and tied for No. 68 on a list of best colleges for veterans.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is tied for No. 124 among national universities. MU is No. 60 among public schools and No. 85 on the value schools list.

Only one Missouri school appears on the list for national liberal arts colleges, which features schools that emphasize undergraduate education but have nationwide reach. Westminster College in Fulton is tied for 155th on that list.

Among regional universities, defined as schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, some master’s programs and limited options at the doctoral level, Truman State University once again leads the list of Missouri schools. The Kirksville university is No. 7 among regional universities in the Midwest, matching its performance from a year ago. Truman State ranks No. 1 on regional lists of top public schools and value schools.

Other Missouri schools in the top 20 of the regional universities list include Rockhurst University in Kansas City, which is tied for 13th, and Webster University in St. Louis, tied for 15th.

Cottey College in Nevada leads the list of Midwestern regional colleges, defined as schools that focus on undergraduate education but award fewer than half of their degrees in liberal arts fields.

U.S. News uses 17 metrics to assess academic quality, with the greatest emphasis on a college’s ability to retain and graduate students. Other factors include class size, undergraduate academic reputation and how much colleges spend on instruction.

The rankings data predates the coronavirus pandemic, so the impact of COVID-19 on higher education is not reflected in how schools performed overall.


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