Eastern Illinois University has moved up in the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of higher education institutions.
EIU is ranked 51st among all Midwestern universities offering a full range of undergraduate degrees and some master's degree programs. The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Among public universities on the list, EIU ranks 12th in its class in the 12-state region (up from 14th last year). Among Illinois public universities, EIU ranks second (up from third last year).
The rankings - part of the magazine's 2012 edition of "Best Colleges" - are based on schools' academic reputations, student selectivity, faculty resources, graduation and retention rates, financial resources and alumni giving.
The numbers reveal EIU's focus on personal attention. For example, the student-faculty ratio remains 16:1, and only 3 percent of all classes have 50 or more students.
In addition, EIU continues to tout the highest freshman retention rate and the second-highest graduation rate among all Illinois public universities in its class.
"Eastern Illinois University continues to move forward despite the financial obstacles in our way, and that says a lot about our faculty and staff, our students, and the many alumni and friends who believe in and support our mission," said EIU President Bill Perry.
"While I'm proud of our higher ranking, I'm more proud of the manner in which each facet of the university continues to move forward. The emphasis always has been and continues to be integrating students' academic and personal experiences, and I'm happy to see the statistics reflect positively on that.
"Ultimately, it's not numbers that convince people that they belong at EIU - it's the excellent academic programs and the personal connection they find here. That speaks volumes about the EIU experience."
Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, praised the commitment of the faculty to the university's mission.
"Assuring the superior quality of the Eastern educational experience remains the overriding focus of our faculty," Lord said. "Their commitment to our students' academic and personal development makes Eastern the first and best choice for many prospective students."