FREDONIA - For the second year in a row, SUNY Fredonia has been ranked 14th among the top public universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Colleges" rankings.
In the larger category of both public and private institutions in the North, SUNY Fredonia tied for 60th out of the top tier of the "Best Regional Universities," which the publication defines as 621 universities nationwide which offer primarily bachelor's and master's degrees. Only three other SUNY schools appear higher than Fredonia on this year's list.
SUNY Fredonia once again performed especially well in the category of freshmen retention rates, with an impressive 84 percent of first-year students returning for their sophomore year. In addition, its freshmen acceptance rate remained at a selective 52 percent, along with a graduation rate of 65 percent. Items such as small class sizes, favorable student-to-faculty ratios, high school grades and college entrance exam scores, assessment by administrators at peer institutions, and alumni giving are also factored into the process.
"Although we believe that rankings such as these have some inherent flaws and should only be used as one of many tools within the college selection process, we are pleased to once again be recognized by U.S. News & World Report in such a favorable capacity," said SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath. "All of our faculty and staff work diligently throughout the year with a focus on many of the factors which the study deems to be critical, especially such areas as retention and graduation rates, as well as class size and student-to-faculty ratios.
"Equally important, however, are issues such as learning effectiveness and character development," Dr. Horvath added. "We remain focused upon delivering on our mission and baccalaureate goals, striving to see that all of our graduates are skilled, creative, connected and responsible global citizens and professionals. These areas, upon which we place the utmost of importance, rarely translate effectively to any rankings system."
Overall, Fredonia saw a slight decrease from its 2013 rankings (tied for 55th overall) despite consistent year-over-year performance across nearly all of its metrics.
"As we continue to work with Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo to position SUNY and New York to lead in affordability, access, and quality, and President (Barack) Obama puts these issues into focus nationally, we are proud to be recognized and ranked favorably by U.S. News & World Report," added SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Congratulations to SUNY Fredonia and the many campuses representing SUNY on this list."
The annual rankings represent a comprehensive look at how schools stack up based on a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence, and aims to help students evaluate and compare data compiled from nearly 1,376 ranked colleges and universities. The publication's "North" region includes nearly 200 four-year universities in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
SUNY Fredonia has been ranked as a Best College every year since 1989.
The publication recognizes the study's limitations, stating, "The host of intangibles that make up the college experience can't be measured by a series of data points." However, the authors state, when combined with college visits, interviews, and student preferences, these rankings "can be a powerful tool in your quest for the right college."