ECSU among top 20 in US News' rankings for first time

Sep. 13—WILLIMANTIC — U.S. News and World Report ranked Eastern Connecticut State University as 19th among public universities in the north and the second best public regional university in New England.

The rankings were released on Monday.

" I am pleased that for the first time ever, Eastern now ranks among the top 20 public institutions in the North, something we can be very proud of," ECSU President Elsa Nu?ez said in a press release. " The north region contains the highest concentration of colleges and nations in the country and is home to some of the nation's top universities."

The north region includes institutions in 11 states and Washington D.C., stretching from Maryland to the Canadian border and west through Pennsylvania.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the region is considered the most competitive region in the country.

" I am gratified that we rank so highly, indicative of our academic reputation, strong graduation and retention rates and quality of our students," Nu?ez said. " This is a tribute to our faculty, staff and students and I congratulate them on this achievement. As Connecticut's only public liberal arts university, we continue to be committed to providing an outstanding education to students from all backgrounds."

Eastern dropped one spot in the public regional university category, a category in which it ranked first in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Academic quality placed a factor in the rankings and emphasis was placed on various outcome measures, including graduation rate, retention rate, graduate indebtedness and social mobility.

The outcomes account for 40% of the school's overall score, the most highly- weighted factor in the rankings.

" For nearly 40 years, the Best Colleges methodology has continuously evolved to reflect changes in the higher education landscape and the interests of prospective students," U. S. News editor and chief content officer Kim Castro said in the release. " Guiding that evolution is U.S. News' mission of providing useful data and information to help with one of life's biggest decisions."

Some of Eastern's strongest measures include the following: its first-year student retention rate; more than 50% of classes having less than 20 students; a student- faculty ratio of 14 to 1 and more than 40% of firstyear students graduating in the top 25% of their high school class.

The 78% retention rate is for the prior year.

The retention rate for this year is projected at 83%, the highest ever, but that has not been finalized. The retention rate is finalized after Eastern's add/ drop period ends, which ended on Sept. 4. Eastern Connecticut State University Public Relations Officer Michael Rouleau said the incoming class is " one of the strongest" in recent years.

" We continue to be selective with our admitted students, even considering the enrollment challenges that are facing higher education institutions," he said. " We're not lowering our

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