In today’s post, I’m very happy to be able to share with you the good news about Longwood that was released today by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s annual college rankings. Feel free to spread the word!
This is the fifth-straight year Longwood is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the South and the second year Longwood is named a “Best Value” among regional Southern universities—both indicative of Longwood’s steadily rising reputation. Since 2013, the university has climbed to No. 7 from No. 12 among public institutions in the Southern regional category. Among public and private regional universities, Longwood is ranked No. 16 overall.
New this year: Longwood is the top-ranked Virginia university on the list of Best Colleges for Veterans, a rapid rise due in large part to concerted efforts led by Dr. John Miller, associate professor of early American literature and member of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Rankings can never fully capture the student experience of a university, nor can they capture its spirit, but a steady rise like we have seen is because of improving benchmarks that matter very much,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “Those benchmarks include small class sizes that are the hallmark of our Civitae core curriculum and our strong academic reputation. Our true strength, however, is in our community of citizen leaders who innovate and strive each day to seek new ways to push forward.
“This year I’m especially proud to see our work with our veteran students recognized alongside our commitment to college affordability,” continued Reveley. “Both of these measures are top of my mind every day, and we know that we can make a real difference to students and families by holding tuition increases among the lowest in Virginia and providing opportunities to veterans who have served our country.”
Among the factors that have led to Longwood’s sustained top-10 ranking:
—A six-year graduation rate that exceeds predictions
—Fewer than 20 students in nearly 60 percent of classes
—Civitae core curriculum classes capped at 25 students
At the same time, Longwood continues to invest heavily in full-time, tenure-track faculty—offering students smaller classes taught by professors who are making their careers at the institution. Since 2012, Longwood’s ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty have increased by more than 40 faculty members, amounting to growth of 25 percent. That comes as universities across the country have scaled back full-time faculty hiring, relying more on adjuncts, graduate assistants and part-time staff to teach classes.
The Best Value ranking system compares overall ranking with total cost, factoring in the amount of need-based aid and the average discount given. Longwood is behind only one other public university in Virginia on the regional list.
“For the past eight years we have worked extremely hard on college affordability,” said Louise Waller MBA ’10, Longwood’s vice president for administration and finance. “We’ve kept tuition increases to among the lowest levels in the state, and this coming year we will actually be lowering out-of-state tuition rates. We have ongoing conversations about how we can innovate to keep the sticker price as low as possible so more families aren’t priced out of higher education. I’m glad that work is recognized in these rankings, but more fulfilling is meeting students who benefit from our efforts.”