Augustana University Ranks as Top 10 Best Regional University by U.S. News & World Report

Augustana 2020 Best Regional University - US News

Augustana University has been named a Top 10 regional university for the first time by U.S. News & World Report – ranking #9 in Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. In previous years, Augustana was categorized and highly ranked as a Best Regional College. The new classification underscores the university’s growth in academic programming and high student outcomes. Augustana is listed in other Best Regional Universities Midwest categories: #2 Best Value, #8 (tie) in Most Innovative, and #12 (tie) in Best Undergraduate Teaching.

More than 1,900 colleges in the nation were evaluated and close to 1,400 of them were ranked according to their performance across several indicators of excellence –graduation and retention rates, graduation rate performance, social mobility, expert opinion, faculty resources, student excellence, financial resources and alumni giving.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings demonstrate Augustana’s commitment to academic excellence,” says Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. “The regional university category more accurately reflects the depth and breadth of Augustana’s academic degrees, our faculty’s expertise and their dedication to providing a liberal arts education of enduring worth.”

U.S. News identifies a regional university as one that offers a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master's degree programs. The publication defines a regional college as “one that focuses on undergraduate education but grants fewer than 50% of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines.” Both categories rank institutions in four geographical groups: North, South, Midwest and West.

To place each school in its ranking, U.S. News strictly maps its categories to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education's Basic Classification system, which is the accepted standard in U.S. higher education. The U.S. Department of Education and many higher education associations use the Carnegie system to organize or label their data, among other uses. In February 2019, Carnegie released official updates – called the "2018 Update" – including the Basic system. U.S. News first used the 2018 Update in the 2020 Best Colleges ranking and grouped universities and schools by academic mission into distinct rankings.

Herseth Sandlin added, “We went from being ranked number four as a best regional college in the Midwest last year to number nine as a best regional university this year. This shift reflects the success of strategic decisions made over the past few years and supports our Vision 2030 goals as we plan for more growth – in academic programs, scholarships, and innovative learning opportunities – thereby attracting even more students who are interested in being part of this very special place that is Augustana.”

Augustana was recently ranked number one in South Dakota by Niche and listed as a Hidden Gem in the Midwest and the United States by College Raptor. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking named Augustana the top university in South Dakota. In June 2019, career site Zippia ranked Augustana the second-highest college for post-graduate employment in the nation.

# # #

About Augustana University

Founded in 1860, Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a selective, comprehensive university affiliated with the Lutheran Church. With more than 100 majors, minors and pre-professional programs for undergraduates, along with graduate degree and continuing education programs, Augustana is committed to enriching lives and fostering development by combining a foundation in the liberal arts with professional skill and advanced study.

Nationally recognized for academic excellence, graduate outcomes and affordability by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and the Princeton Review, Augustana serves more than 2,100 students from 33 states and 32 countries. Most are part of our residential community and call our 100-acre campus home. Our graduate and continuing education programs serve students online and during times that are convenient for adult learners.


Nikki Troxclair, APR
Strategic Communications & Marketing