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St. Catherine University is among Minnesota’s top institutions in U.S. News 2014 rankings

Assoc. Dean for Nursing Maggie Pharris and Assoc. Professor David Luedtke greet students at convocation.
Assoc. Dean for Nursing Maggie Pharris and Assoc. Professor David Luedtke greet students at convocation.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski \'10.

St. Catherine University’s ranking rose one position and it debuted on the “Great Schools at Great Prices” list in U.S. News and World Report’s “2014 Best Colleges.”

The University was ranked 13th among 147 public and private institutions in the “Regional Universities–Midwest” category —second among 13 Minnesota institutions in this category.

Since last year’s rankings

Overall the University’s overall score rose to 69 from 67 points over last year’s rankings, assisted by an increase in the first-year retention rate from 81 to 82 percent. The University’s peer assessment score — a measure whose importance decreased in this year’s weighted rankings — remained at 3.2 on a scale of 5.0.

St. Kate’s debuts on list of schools offering “best value”

St. Catherine University debuted at 14th this year on the “Great Schools at Great Prices” list.  This ranking takes into account academic quality and the 2012-13 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

According to U.S. News, “Only schools in or near the top half of their ranking categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that perform well academically.”

St. Kate’s diversity recognized

Confirming the University’s commitment to access to higher education and respect for diversity, St. Catherine is again ranked the highest in Minnesota for the economic diversity of its students. Forty-six percent of students attending the University receive federal Pell Grants, which are need-based grants to promote access to postsecondary education for low-income students.

Also, St. Kate’s was recognized (along with Hamline University, the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and the University of St. Thomas) on the "A+ Schools for B Students" list — “where spirit and hard work could make all the difference to admissions offices.”

According to U.S. News: “To be eligible, national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges all had to be listed among the top three-quarters of their peer groups in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, and first-year retention rates for all schools had to be greater than or equal to 75 percent.” St. Kate’s first-year retention rate is 82 percent.

How Minnesota schools fared

Other Minnesota colleges and universities in the "Regional Universities-Midwest" category include Hamline University (11), Bethel University (21), Augsburg College (26), College of St. Scholastica (33), University of Minnesota–Duluth (five-way tie for 42), Winona State University (65), Minnesota State University–Mankato (75), St. Cloud State University (83) Bemidji State University and Concordia University–St. Paul (in a 10-way tie at 92), Minnesota State University–Moorhead (108) and Southwest Minnesota State University–Marshall (listed in the second tier, 111–147).

Changes in methodology this year

The U.S. News rankings are calculated based on several measures. Each measure is weighted to arrive at a final overall score:

                  22.5 percent: Graduation and retention rates

                  22.5 percent: Assessment by peers

                  20 percent: Faculty resources

                  12.5 percent: Student selectivity

                  10 percent: Financial resources

                  7.5 percent: Graduation rate performance

                  5 percent: Alumni giving

U.S. News changes in the ranking methodology for 2014 included:

  • Reducing the weight assigned to high school class standing of newly enrolled students and increasing the weight given to SAT and ACT scores.
  • Modifying the student selectivity indicator to drop the weight of high school class standing from 40 percent to 25 percent while increasing the weight given to SAT and ACT scores from 50 to 65 percent.
  • Reducing the weight of student selectivity from 15 percent to 12.5 percent.
  • Including regional universities and colleges in application of graduation rate performance indicators that focus on the difference between each school’s predicted graduation rate and its actual graduation rate. (U.S. News calculates this based on test scores and Pell Grants.)
  • Reducing the weight of the peer assessment score from 25 percent to 22.5 percent.
  • Reducing the weight given to graduation and retention rates from 25 percent to 22.5 percent.
Sep. 10, 2013 by Julie Michener

See also: Liberal Arts, Students