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Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 8, 2007

Celebrating Columbus . . .

"1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them."

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), author, from Breakfast of Champions

(NOTE: Strictly speaking, this Vonnegut quote doesn't have anything to do with journalism. I'll owe you one. On the other hand, Columbus didn't have anything to do with discovering America, either, strictly speaking.)


U.S. News & World Report ranks USU best in the country for graduate students with lowest debt

A new round of rankings mark the start of a new academic year at Utah State University, including "Best in the West" and even a No. 1 recognition by U.S. News & World Report.

In a nutshell, USU is:

No. 1 among public universities for graduates with least debt (U.S. News & World Report).

Top 35 overall score among public national universities based on social mobility, research and service (The Washington Monthly).

"Best in the West" and

"America's Best Value Colleges" by The Princeton Review.

This year, USU was recognized by the U.S. News rankings as No. 1 among all national public universities for students carrying the least amount of debt upon graduation. This is a distinction of which Utah State University can be proud, said Raymond T. Coward, USU executive vice president and provost.

"The amount of debt a student leaves with is a result of many factors," Coward said. "One of those factors is most certainly the cost of tuition. Our tuition is extraordinarily reasonable, especially when one considers the quality of education delivered at USU. A USU education is reasonably priced and well worth the value."

In the Washington Monthly report, USU is ranked number 54 out of 242 national universities. It is a ranking that represents the combined score of the three metrics – social mobility, research and service. That is a score among all universities. When private institutions are removed from the list, USU is ranked in the top 35.

"In the public institution light, USU shines," Coward said.

For example, the Washington Monthly's rankings place USU as:

· one of only 19 public institutions in the nation listed in the top 35 two years in a row

· 7th highest percentage of students receiving Pell grants – an indicator of the "social mobility" that the university provides low-income students. (Coward notes that the federal Pell Grant program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduates to promote access to postsecondary education.)

· 86th under the category of actual graduation rate compared to USU's predicted graduation rate based on the percentage of Pell recipients and incoming SATs. (Coward notes the top 100 national ranking in graduating students at a higher rate then would be predicted is another positive measure of social mobility.)

· 3rd in the nation with regard to the percentage of funds in federal work-study money that goes to community service. (Ranked behind only the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of California, Riverside.)

Washington Monthly applies measures reflecting traits such as access, opportunity, service and quality.

"Utah State University's good marks in these areas place us in an elite group of public institutions, and they reflect many of the traits we value," Coward said. "It is why I believe you also see USU consistently appear in The Princeton Review's "Best in the West" and on "America's Best Value Colleges" list as we are, once again, this year."


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