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Westminster, other Utah colleges appear in national college rankings

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of Westminster College are smiling at national rankings released Tuesday by U.S. News that measure overall educational value, affordability, services for military veteran students and other metrics.

Among the rankings for schools in western states in the 2016 report on best colleges, Salt Lake City's liberal arts college ranked 20th for "best regional university," sixth among "best value schools," 20th among "A-plus schools for B students," and 18th "best college for veterans."

Darlene Dilley, director of undergraduate admissions at Westminster, said the rankings give a broad look at indicators that are important to students, such as cost, educational quality and college experience.

"This is something that students and families pay attention to," Dilley said. "They're looking for colleges who not only provide a strong educational experience inside the classroom, but that experience outside the classroom is just as valuable. And we are committed to making it affordable. Our average financial aid package for our incoming class this year was over $24,000."

The best regional university rankings were based on 16 weighted indicators, such as first-year student retention, graduation rates, quality of the faculty and financial resources. Best value schools were rated according to net cost, need-based aid and the average discount for students. The A-plus schools for B students ranking included only schools with students across a range of academic abilities and a freshman retention rate of 75 percent or higher.

Dilley said Westminster has maintained high rankings on the report for several years, but this year's recognition for the school's work with military veteran students came two days before the opening of Westminster's Center for Veteran and Military Services on Friday.

"I think the overall environment of the college is very attractive to veterans. It's that personalized attention, it's that one-on-one accessibility that all students, especially veterans, can have with their faculty members," she said. "And we understand the value that they contribute to our classrooms as well."

Other Utah colleges ranked in the U.S. News report. Brigham Young University appeared in several lists:

• 16th best value school.

• 33rd best business school.

• 34th best law school.

• 66th overall among national universities.

The University of Utah also ranked among national universities:

• 55th among top public schools.

• 94th best college for veterans.

• 115th overall among national universities.

Weber State University fell among other top-performing regional universities:

• 29th in top public schools.

• 49th best college for veterans.

• 77th best overall among regional universities.

Utah State University ranked 13th best in both online bachelor's programs and graduate education programs, as well as having the 33rd best college of education.

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