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LSU Ranked in Top Tier of U.S. News & World Report Rankings for the Fourth Straight Year

For the fourth consecutive year and despite facing budget cuts during that time, LSU is ranked in the first tier for "Best National Universities" in U.S. News & World Report's 2012 edition of Best Colleges.

While remaining in the top tier for the fourth straight year, LSU also saw its overall score improve, along with increases in average freshman retention rate and average alumni giving rate.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

"We are pleased that we are once again a recognized tier one institution," LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said. "We realize there always is inner-annual variation, but it's good to know that we are securely placed among the top tier, both among all universities and certainly among public peer institutions."

In the 2012 edition of Best Colleges, LSU ranks 128th overall and 63rd when compared to public universities only. In the overall rankings, LSU is tied at 128th with three other schools, one public – Colorado State University – and two private – Hofstra University (N.Y.) and New School (N.Y.).

Over the past four years, LSU has seen its overall score improve 10 points – from 32 in 2008 to 33 in 2009 to 37 in 2010 to 42 in 2011.

Martin said the ranking is "a testament to the fact that we continue to retain outstanding faculty, attract outstanding students and benefit from the passion that our friends and alumni bring to this institution in a variety of ways."

"We will continue to live up to the standards implied by being a tier one university," he said.

Other areas that LSU improved over last year's rankings include average freshman retention rate, which went from 84 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2011, and average alumni giving rate, which went from 13 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2011.

"I think both of those suggest the very best students in the state and beyond the state are electing to come to LSU for the right reasons, and as a result, our retention rates increase with a higher student body; and the alumni giving is another sign that even during difficult economic times, the people who love us love us enough to express that love through contribution," Martin said.

LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said LSU's ranking is "a testament to the fact that we continue to retain outstanding faculty, attract outstanding students and benefit from the passion that our friends and alumni bring to this institution in a variety of ways."
Eddy Perez/University Relations

The National Universities category consists of the 280 institutions – 172 public, 101 private and seven for-profit – that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and Ph.D. programs, and emphasize research. The 280 institutions considered in the National Universities category is an increase from 262 institutions – 164 public and 98 private – ranked in the last year's edition of Best Colleges. This is the first year that U.S. News & World Report has included for-profit institutions.

In this year's rankings, there are 202 schools listed in the top tier. LSU is ranked ahead of Southeastern Conference peers the University of Arkansas, University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.

"I believe all universities in the state benefit from the stature that LSU has achieved because it elevates the national public perception of higher education in Louisiana," Martin said.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the indicators used to capture academic quality of universities are undergraduate academic reputation; graduation and retention rates; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving; and, for National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges, "graduation rate performance."

These indicators are each weighted to arrive at a final overall score: undergraduate academic reputation at 22.5 percent, graduation and retention rates at 20 percent, faculty resources at 20 percent, student selectivity at 15 percent, financial resources at 10 percent, alumni giving at 5 percent and "graduation rate performance" at 7.5 percent.

Last year, U.S. News & World Report made changes the ranking methodology and presentation, including the ranking of more schools. In the past, the top 50 percent of schools were ranked in each category. Starting in 2010, U.S. News & World Report ranked the top 75 percent.

Over the past two decades, the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, which group schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

The 2012 edition of the Best Colleges book is available online at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/store/college_compass.htm and will be on newsstands Sept. 20.

For more information about Best Colleges, visit www.usnews.com/colleges.