SEPTEMBER 17, 2003

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USAO ranked by U.S. News

For the third year in a row, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma has been named the No. 1 public undergraduate college in the Western United States by U.S. News and World Report.

The magazine also calls USAO the "No. 1 Best Value" in the West among schools in the "Comprehensive-Bachelor's" category -- for the second year in a row. The magazine's annual college guide hit newsstands in late August, but additional college rankings have appeared in the magazine's last two regular issues.

Besides quality, USAO also earned praise for cultural diversity and for helping students achieve their educational goals with less debt.

"This is extraordinary news,” said President John Feaver. “Since the rankings are based on volumes of data provided by thousands of colleges nationwide, it is a distinct honor to reach this mark three times. We have been ranked among the top 25 percent of regional liberal arts colleges for the quality of our academic programs for the past several years by the magazine, but this announcement is welcome news.

"For the second year, USAO was the only public school to rank among the top 10 'best values' in the Western Comprehensive College list," Feaver said. "We remain the only public school ranked as No. 1 in any of the four regions, as well as the only public school among the top 40 colleges nationwide to be ranked as a 'best value' school."
New national attention also helps when state budgets are hurting, he said.

"These kinds of rankings are particularly helpful to USAO at a time when state revenues are declining, as the college focuses its full efforts on fundraising and development," Feaver explained. "It demonstrates to our friends and alumni that USAO is a quality institution worthy of their generosity and loyalty."

Sen. Bruce Price, D-Hinton, added his applause. “I’m elated. This isn't the first time that USAO has earned national recognition. The faculty and administrative leadership at USAO, as well as the input of alumni and students, have attracted national attention to this institution. This is a team effort, and I’m proud of the staff and students at USAO and privileged to represent USAO in my senate district.”

According to its website, U.S. News uses a formula for its "Best Values List" that relates a school's academic quality ranking to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of financial aid. "The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal," states its editorial board. "We considered only schools ranked in the top half of their categories, since we believe the most significant values are among colleges that are above average academically."

In only the third year for the category, “Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's” ranks “institutions focusing on undergraduate education and offering a range of degree programs in the liberal arts which account for fewer than half their bachelor’s degrees and in professional fields such as business and education.” The category includes both public and private colleges.

Contact: Randy Talley, 1-405-574-1337