Catawba College catapults ahead in 2017 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

SALISBURY — Catawba College moved up 11 positions to the number 4 slot among Best Regional Colleges in the South in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. A perennial climber on this prestigious list, Catawba’s recent jump from 15th in 2016 to fourth in 2017 among Best Regional Colleges in the south was welcome news on campus.

“Catawba is on the move and on the rise,” said Catawba College President Brien Lewis. “We are delighted that numerous national publications, including Princeton Review, Forbes and U.S. News are recognizing that Catawba College is one of the best institutions of its kind. They are reflecting and reporting what we know: that Catawba does an outstanding job of preparing people to reach their highest potential.”

Catawba was one of 334 colleges in U.S. News Regional Colleges category, ranked according to geographic region: North, South, Midwest and West. Schools in this category focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts (which account for fewer than half of the bachelor’s degrees granted) and in fields such as business, nursing and education.

U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality, all of which are weighted. These include graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent); assessment of excellence (22.5 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (12.5 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance – the difference between actual and predicted graduate rates (7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent).

Scores for each measure are weighted to arrive at a final overall score. In the case of the national universities and national liberal arts colleges, the assessment figure represents input from both academic peers (15 percent) and high school guidance counselors (7.5 percent); for regional universities and colleges, it reflects peer opinion only.

U.S. News Best Colleges rankings are billed as tool “for families concerned with finding the best academic value for their money.” The “Best Colleges 2017” rankings mark the 32nd year of this publication, which has been released online at