BYU was recently ranked the best college in Utah in Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges rankings. The rankings focus on return-on-investment and factor in the cost of education versus the long-term value of a degree.
Todd Hollingshead, media relations manager for University Communications, said the rankings measure areas like student debt, post-graduate and graduation rates.
“(These) are all areas where we are striving to do well,” Hollingshead said. “That said, we believe the true value of a BYU education is measured in the lives of our students and graduates and the good they do in the world.”
The report specifically highlighted BYU’s study abroad program, which offers 133 programs in 50 countries.
Timothy Lynn Elliott, director of International Study Programs, said BYU’s study abroad programs have been extremely successful in large part because of its internationally oriented faculty.
“We have international programs in just about every college on campus,” Elliott said. “In my experience, that is very unique — to have so many professors who want to do something international.”
Elliott said many colleges want students to participate in study abroad programs, but do not have the resources on their campuses to do it. Thus, colleges typically outsource their study abroad programs through third-party companies.
“We almost never use third-party companies,” Elliott said. “All of our students participate in programs that are BYU owned and operated, and this is only possible because of so many faculty who are internationally minded.”
The report also showed that two-thirds of students on campus speak a second language. This number is due to a high volume of returned missionaries as well as international students from over 100 countries, according to 2014 Y-Facts.
Hollingshead said BYU is always pleased to be recognized for its excellence by well-known organizations.
“High rankings are fun to share and certainly something our faculty and students can be proud of and celebrate,” Hollingshead said.