Duquesne University is considered among the top 45 schools in the country to offer high academic quality at a good price, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2012 edition of Best Colleges.
This year, it is ranked No. 43 on the Great Schools, Great Price list.
U.S. News.com explains that it considered the 2010-11 net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. “The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,” U.S. News said. “Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included, because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically
For the third year, Duquesne University has advanced in the top-tier ranking. Of more than 1,600 colleges and universities considered in the overall rankings, Duquesne was tied at No. 119 among 202 top-tier institutions. Also listed at No. 119 were The Catholic University of America, Loyola University Chicago and the University of San Francisco, three Catholic institutions, and Clarkson University. Duquesne was one of the 101 private schools included in these rankings, tied among the top 10 Catholic undergraduate institutions in the nation.
“Duquesne is proud of the faculty, staff and student success that is reflected in this ranking,” said President Charles Dougherty. “We’ve worked hard to keep prices affordable for students interested in coming to the University.
“The trend over the last 10 years has yielded incoming freshmen who bring SAT scores that are higher than ever to Duquesne and has produced increased selectivity on campus. At the same time, our admissions office has worked diligently to attract and retain students who come to feel at home and flourish on our campus.”
Among its peers at the No. 119 position, Duquesne showed the highest average freshmen percentage retention (87 percent) as well as the highest actual 2010 graduation rate (75 percent), over-performing compared to the rate predicted by U.S. News.
This year’s rankings considered 15 indicators of academic quality, with graduation rate performance weighted more heavily than some other indicators. U.S. News said that the graduation rate it predicted, based upon students’ test scores and institutional resources, “has been well received by many higher education researchers because it’s a measure of educational outcomes and also rewards schools for graduating at-risk students, many of whom are receiving federal Pell grants. This means that schools can benefit in the Best Colleges rankings by enrolling and then graduating more of these at-risk students.”
The University mission of serving God by serving students figures prominently into the exceptional graduation rate, said Paul-James Cukanna, associate provost for enrollment management. “Our culture is one where we expect our students to graduate and to be successful,” he said.
The rankings, he said, validate Duquesne’s sustained work and investment. “Our ranking reflects both the importance of strategic planning and the continued investments by the Dougherty administration into enrollment management, competitive scholarships, academic programming, improving the physical environment, quality student service initiatives and marketing,” Cukanna said.
In addition to the top-tier rankings, Duquesne was again considered as one of the A+ Schools for B Students, where, U.S. News said, “spirit and hard work make all the difference in admission offices.”
“We truly are an A+ school for A students,” Cukanna said, “based on the average high school grade point average of entering freshmen (3.6) and the fact that we were a top choice for most (95 percent).”
Duquesne has achieved top-tier rankings in each of the last four years, based upon peer rankings as established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. National universities such as Duquesne offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and emphasize faculty research. Other key measures of quality include graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.