Augustana University Ranked Top South Dakota College by Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education

Augustana is proud to announce that the university made the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Times Higher Education (THE) list of top U.S. colleges and universities. The 2021 rankings, which include nearly 800 schools, was posted to The Wall Street Journal’s website on the evening of Wednesday, September 17. Out of the three schools that made the list in the state, Augustana University was at the top in South Dakota.

The WSJ and THE rankings emphasize how well a college will prepare students for life after graduation, relying on data collected before the near-total shutdown of in-person higher education occurred. The overall ranking is based on a methodology that measures 15 factors across four pillar categories.

40% — Student Outcomes, which factors in salary for graduates and debt after graduation

30% — Academic Resources, which includes investments into instruction and student services

20% — Student Engagement, based on responses from a student survey of more than 170,000 current U.S. college students on whether students feel prepared to use their education 

10% — Diversity, which includes measures of student and faculty diversity and inclusion

Following a March 2019 executive order on accountability at colleges and universities, College Scorecard is now focusing on collecting outcomes data at the field-of-study level, and has stopped publishing overall salary values 10 years after matriculation. This data was used in the WSJ and THE value-added model, which they weren’t able to replace with the new values published. As a result, the publications are reusing last year’s scores.

Due to the ongoing pandemic and the shutdown of many college campuses, the student survey that measures engagement was canceled. Therefore, the data for the three student-engagement metrics utilizes the scores obtained by institutions in 2019. Last year, the WSJ and THE received roughly 174,000 responses from student surveys. Questions included whether they feel inspired and motivated by their classmates, whether they think their college is worth what they and their families are paying, and if they’d choose the same school if they had to start all over again. Out of the four categories, Augustana received its highest ranking in the student engagement category at 223.

Augustana has also been named a top regional university for the second straight year by U.S. News & World Reportranking #13 in Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. The university was recently ranked the Best College in South Dakota by Niche and listed as a “Hidden Gem” and one of the Best Colleges in the Plains Region by College Raptor. This summer, career site Zippia ranked Augustana No. 1 nationally for Best Small Colleges for Getting a Job and the second-highest college for post-graduate employment in the nation.


Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.