USAO tops national college ranking list for affordability, value

Friday, December 13, 2013

For the third year in a row, a national financial organization has rated the University of Science and Arts as the most affordable institution on its list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges in 2014.

Kiplinger's, a Washington D.C. based financial institution, publishes its Personal Finance list, independent of university solicitations, each year as a service to its readers.

In addition, USAO has improved its overall ranking on the list from No. 99 to No. 85 for in-state students. USAO was ranked No. 83 for out-of-state students. The ranking cites four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.

Two other Oklahoma universities also earned spots on this list: The University of Oklahoma was No. 65 and Oklahoma State University was No. 78 for in-state; while for out-of-state OU was No. 71 and OSU was No. 88.

“USAO is proud to continue to be one of three universities in Oklahoma that is ranked so highly by this respectable national publication,” said USAO President John Feaver. “The college landscape today is very different than in years past with tuition increases and student debt on the rise. It takes unique qualities and high standards to maintain the academic integrity USAO demonstrates.”

According to Kiplinger’s, USAO’s ranking on this list is based on a number of measurable standards including the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low sticker prices, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation.

“USAO’s continuing rise in the Kiplinger national rankings proves USAO’s devotion to quality,” said Academic Vice President Dex Marble. “As a faculty, we are delighted to provide expert individual attention that encourages and enables students to meet our high expectations for performance. And we are grateful for the resources, public and private, that allow us to deliver the value that Kiplinger celebrates.”

The new rankings for 2014 were published on its website Wednesday and will appear in Kiplinger’s February 2014 issue, which will be on newsstands Dec. 31, 2013 and is online now at

This latest ranking continues a pattern of national recognition for USAO, Oklahoma’s only public liberal arts university.

For the third year in a row, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni awarded the university an “A” grade for the breadth of its core curriculum in its annual “What Will They Learn?” survey.

USAO was one of only 22 universities to earn that distinction nationwide this year and was the only Oklahoma university on the list.

In late August, Washington Monthly magazine ranked USAO fourth among 255 public liberal arts university in the nation for economic accessibility and for fostering upward social mobility among its graduates.

This ranking is based on comparing a school’s graduation rates of lower income federal PELL grant recipients to its net price.

2013 also marked the third year that USAO was ranked among national liberal arts colleges in US News’ Best Colleges Guide