U.S. News and World Report ranked Centre College as the 45th best liberal arts college in the nation this year, according to a news release Tuesday from the Danville school.
"We are fortunate to remain among the best of the best by every measure," said Centre President John A. Roush, "which is a credit to our faculty and staff, as well as our 195-year history focused on educating young people for meaningful work and service."
Centre got high marks for undergraduate teaching and good value.
Berea College was ranked 69th, and Transylvania University was 81st.
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In rankings of national universities, the University of Kentucky was ranked 129th and the University of Louisville was 161st.
Regional universities were split into national regions. Among approximately 100 regional schools in the South, Bellarmine University in Louisville was 13th, Murray State was 26th, Western Kentucky University was 31st, Morehead State University was 53rd, and Eastern Kentucky University was 62nd.
Among regional colleges in the South, which U.S. News defines as granting half their degrees in liberal arts, Asbury University in Wilmore was ranked 1st.
U.S. News rankings are a popular source of information about higher education. They use various measures of quantitative and qualitative data, including retention, graduation, faculty pay, class size and selectivity. They also use more subjective information, including the opinions of high school guidance counselors and students.
The rankings have been criticized for forcing schools to focus more on test scores and admissions selectivity — who rejects the most students — and have been blamed for encouraging schools to shift their financial resources away from need-based aid to mostly merit-based aid.
In recent years, however, other types of rankings have popped up. On Tuesday, the New York Times released a ranking of schools that have improved their economic diversity, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., placed first.
The Washington Monthly magazine conducts a yearly report of rankings based on social mobility (the number of low-income students who graduate), research, and public service. Among liberal arts colleges, Berea came in third in that report and Centre placed 32nd.