Eastern Illinois University advanced in its placement in the annual U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings to No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities.
Eastern also was ranked 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs. EIU is the highest ranking public university in Illinois on the list, released this week as part of the magazine’s 2014 edition of “Best Colleges.”
The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.
“While we’re pleased to see that we have advanced in the rankings, we won’t become overly focused on them,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Eastern continually strives to improve its programs and provide its students with the best education possible.”
The U.S. News rankings rely heavily on EIU's focus on personal attention. For example, the student-faculty ratio stands at 14:1, and only 3 percent of all classes have 50 or more students.
In addition, EIU continues to tout the highest freshman retention rate (79 percent) and the highest graduation rate (60 percent) among all Illinois public universities in its class.
“We pride ourselves in our capacity for providing individual attention to our students, and believe those relationships are critical to the success of those students,” Lord continued. “Our faculty members know our students and work closely with them to create a great learning atmosphere. In the end, those efforts are more important to us than any ranking.”