By Lorianne Flint
BYU ranked 71st in ?America?s Best Colleges,? an annual survey conducted by U.S.News & World Report, available yesterday at newsstands.
The magazine ranked national colleges and universities in various categories, including overall excellence, specialized programs and the least debt incurred by departing graduates.
Carri Jenkins, university spokesperson, said the rankings reflect the school?s progress over the years.
?We?re pleased by the rankings particularly because it reflects the growth and improvements we see at the university,? Jenkins said. ?We have seen BYU rising in the rankings throughout the last several years. But our goal is not to improve for the sake of ranking but for the benefit of our students.?
Jenkins said some factors that contributed to the high ranking were the high freshman retention rate, an increase in graduation rates and the abilities of entering students.
Besides moving up from 74th in overall excellence last year, BYU placed 22nd for best overall value.
Junior Jaclyn Norton said she was more than happy to be here.
?There couldn?t be a better place for me, for the education I receive and for the price I pay,? Norton said. ?Tuition is really inexpensive, and I get a great education.?
BYU placed 13th for the least amount of student debt. Only 34 percent of graduates reported debt on graduation. Student debt averaged $12,478 at graduation.
The Marriott School accounting program also received high marks. It ranked 8th in the specialty category, and its international business program ranked 21st in the nation.
?I think [the ranking] reflects how the school is improving,? said Ervin Black, associate professor of accounting. ?The accounting curriculum went through a reconstruction 15 years ago, and all of those changes and the way our students have done in the profession has created that perception in the public?s mind that allows us to be ranked so high.?
Nelson Abbott, part-time business law faculty member, also recognized that continually improving the program helped.
?It?s a great distinction and an honor to be ranked so high,? he said. ?I think it reflects that there?s been a lot of effort over the years by faculty and administration to improve the program.?
The survey also gave positive results to UVSC. It ranked fourth on price for public colleges in the west with comprehensive programs and topped the list for least amount of debt for its type of college.
In overall ranking, Harvard and Princeton tied for first, followed by Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
The survey evaluated the undergraduate programs of 4-year accredited colleges and universities across the nation. Rankings for graduate programs will be released in a future issue of the magazine.