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Forbes Lists Augustana Among 'America’s Top Colleges'

Augustana is ranked among the nation’s best colleges and universities and is the highest-ranked undergraduate institution in South Dakota, according to Forbes’ fourth annual “America’s Top Colleges.”

Forbes ranked 650 U.S. undergraduate colleges and universities based on quality of teaching, career prospects, graduation rates and low student indebtedness. Augustana was ranked:

  • No. 212 in the nation, the highest rank among the three South Dakota institutions listed (South Dakota State University was ranked No. 478; the University of South Dakota was ranked No. 492) and a 95-point increase from its 2010 standing (No. 307).
  • No. 179 among private colleges nationwide
  • No. 43 in the Midwest

"Unlike other lists, we pointedly ignore ephemeral measures such as school “reputation” and ill-conceived metrics that reward wasteful spending. We try and evaluate the college purchase as a consumer would.” – Forbes 

"Unlike other lists, we pointedly ignore ephemeral measures such as school “reputation” and ill-conceived metrics that reward wasteful spending. We try and evaluate the college purchase as a consumer would,” Forbes says on its website.

To determine the rankings, Forbes worked with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) to weigh factors such as:

  • Quality of teaching and student satisfaction: According to students surveyed in Spring 2010, 89.1 percent agreed that their courses were intellectually challenging; 90.6 percent agreed that their instructors were enthusiastic (of those, 62.9 percent strongly agreed); and 84.7 percent agreed that their teachers were "excellent." Augustana boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.
  • Career prospects: Ninety-four percent of 2010 Augustana graduates seeking employment had accepted a position related to their major or chosen field within nine months of graduation. Of those, 68 percent chose to work in South Dakota, serving as contributors to the state’s intellectual capital.
  • Graduation rates: Seventy-eight percent of the Augustana graduating class of 2011 completed their degrees in four years.
  • Levels of debt: 2009 Augustana graduates averaged $21,900 in federal student loan debt. In comparison, the Project on Student Debt lists the national average debt of 2009 grads as $24,000 with South Dakota's average as $23,581.

Last week, The Princeton Review named Augustana among the “Best in the Midwest” in its annual review of the 153 best colleges in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri.

In May, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) admitted Augustana to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, a leading group of 511 colleges and universities recognized for supporting volunteerism, service-learning and civic engagement. Augustana was also ranked the No. 6 baccalaureate college in the nation for its efforts to advance social mobility, research and service by Washington Monthly and has been listed by Templeton Guide among those that inspire students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives.