The U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Richmond as No. 30 in "The Top Liberal Arts Colleges" for the 2008-09 year, the university's highest ranking since being placed in the highly competitive category in 2006.
U.S. News classifies colleges into categories before ranking them: national universities, liberal arts colleges, universities-master's and baccalaureate colleges. There are 266 liberal arts colleges that emphasize undergraduate education. The data used for the rankings comes from a questionnaire distributed to every school.
Many factors contributed to Richmond's improved rankings, including this year's record-setting number of admission applications, and increased scores for academic reputation, faculty resources and graduation rates.
"We are simply focusing on all of the things we do best at Richmond, and agencies such as U.S. News and the Princeton Review and others are taking notice," said Gil Villanueva, the assistant vice president and dean of the office of admissions. "It is exciting to hear there's a buzz about our school."
In the press release published on Aug. 19, covering the rankings, President Edward L. Ayers said: "It is nice to see the rankings affirm that Richmond truly is a school to watch. Though we are equally proud of the things the U.S. News rankings do not measure - that in one in five of our incoming students this year are the first in their family to go to college, for example, or the broad range of opportunities we provide for engaging in the community."
Last year Richmond tied at No. 33 in the ranking with Trinity College. Now, it is tied with Barnard College and Bucknell University. Trinity has fallen to No. 36.
When asked about being tied at No. 30, the Bucknell Dean of Admissions, Robert G. Springall, said that the school officials were always happy to hear Bucknell mentioned among the top institutions, and are always motivated to improve.
"Our specific place on U.S. News' list does not change what we do or the pride we have in our people or our programs," Springall said. The Barnard Dean of Admissions was unavailable for comment.
Richmond has improved its rankings in its other U.S. News & World categories as well. It is up four spots, to No. 5, in "Top Up-and-Coming Schools," a category for liberal arts colleges with innovative, promising changes to academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities. In "Great Schools, Great Prices" for high academic quality relative to price paid, it is up 13 spots to No. 14. Richmond also remains on the unnumbered "Programs to Look For" list, among outstanding study-abroad programs.
Williams College and Amherst College topped the Liberal Arts rankings. Harvard University and Princeton University tied for first in the National University rankings.
In addition to its rankings in the U.S. News & World Report, Richmond appears on several additional prestigious listings. The university has been selected for inclusion in The Princeton Review's "The Best 371 Colleges" every year since it was first published in 1992.
Earlier this year, USA Today (in partnership with the Princeton Review) included Richmond on its list of 100 Best Value colleges. Kiplinger's Personal Finance listed Richmond at No. 17 on its list of top 50 private universities in the country that deliver an affordable, high-quality education.
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SmartMoney included Richmond on its list of "Colleges That Pay Off" and on a breakout list of "Top Liberal Arts Schools."
Contact staff writer Mary Morgan at email@example.com
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