A-Sun Schools Earn High Marks in College Rankings

Friday, September 07, 2007

MACON, Ga. - Continuing a strong tradition of academic excellence, Atlantic Sun institutions were well represented in the latest US News & World Report list of America's Best Colleges.

Ten of the 12 schools appeared in top "Best Universities-Master's" Southern category, with eight placing in the top 60, led by Stetson and Mercer, both ranked inside the top ten. Stetson ranked as the second best program; Mercer ranked seventh. Belmont ranked just outside of the top ten at No. 11, marking the third straight year Belmont has been ranked in the top 15.

Stetson has been among the South's leading universities since the U.S. News & World Report survey was first published in 1985. Stetson improved on last year’s ranking, moving from fifth to second in the category of universities that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s level programs. The group includes 574 universities ranked by region - North, South, Midwest and West. Mercer has made the best college list for 18 straight years and has been inside the top ten for nine consecutive rankings. Belmont's No. 11 ranking represents the highest spot among the 15 Tennessee universities in this category.

Lipscomb (ranked No. 25), Campbell (No. 34), UNF (No. 43), Jacksonville (No. 48) and Gardner-Webb (No. 55) round out the Atlantic Sun schools ranked in the top 60. Lipscomb improved from No. 28 in the 2007 rankings and Jacksonville moved up seven spots from its No. 55 ranking last year.

Mercer and Stetson also both ranked in the top five in the South among "Best Universities-Master's" in the category of "Great Schools, Great Prices." The ranking reflects the magazine's selection of institutions based on the formula of "the higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal."

First-year member USC Upstate was ranked No. 36 among Baccalaureate Colleges in the South and ETSU was the lone school in the league to be considered as a national university.

Kennesaw State was recognized by the magazine as having among the nation’s best institutions for its First-Year Experience program. It is the fourth straight year Kennesaw State has been on this exclusive list of 40. The program, entitled KSU 1101, is aimed for first-time, first-year and transfer students with fewer than 30 credit hours. The goal of the program is to familiarize the students with the campus and its programs. The course focuses on the skills needed to get through college, such as study methods, time management and effective oral and written communication.

Mercer’s School of Engineering tied with eight other schools at 38th nationally in the category of "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs." Since its establishment in 1986, Mercer School of Engineering has become the largest source of engineers for Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga. The school will expand its classes and research initiatives to the new $14 million Science and Engineering building on the Macon, Ga. campus this month.

U.S. News & World Report computes its rankings using objective measures of academic quality provided by the schools and assessments made by leaders at peer institutions. Data categories include student/faculty ratio; class size; graduation rate; percentage of full-time faculty; student selectivity; average SAT/ACT scores; percentage of highly ranked freshmen; alumni giving rate and others.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.