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BC Ranked Among Top Colleges in South

Bluefield College has been ranked among the Top Tier Colleges in the South in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges: 2016,” thanks in large part to its personal attention to students and affordability.

Chris Shoemaker

October 21, 2015


Small class sizes and personal attention from professors are among the reasons Bluefield College was named to U.S. News and World Report's 'America's Best Colleges: 2016.'


Only 74 colleges in the South region made U.S. News’ Top Tier list. Bluefield ranked 49th among the Top Tier schools out of nearly 100 evaluated from 12 Southern states, including Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.



“We are pleased by our inclusion as a ‘Top Tier’ college in the South,” said Dr. David Olive, president of Bluefield College. “We take great pride in providing an affordable and accessible education to our students, many of whom are first generation students from our Appalachian region. The Top Tier designation is evidence of our gifted faculty and staff and our constant pursuit to transform the hearts and minds of students in a Christ-centered learning community.”


Nearly 400 regional colleges in four regions of the United States are evaluated in U.S. News’ annual study, including 98 colleges in the South region, the largest region in the study and where Bluefield College ranked 49th based on its strong scores in the areas of small class sizes, graduation rates, financial aid packages, and limited debt of graduates.


According to the U.S. News survey, Bluefield College boasts among Top Tier colleges in the South the 22nd best number of classes with fewer than 20 students. Seventy-one percent of Bluefield’s classes have less than 20 students, and no BC classes have more than 50 students. With that kind of small class size, Bluefield’s personal attention to students is among the best in the South.


“Faculty at Bluefield are not distant figures intoning from the front of a lecture hall,” said Trent Argo, vice president for enrollment management. “They think of themselves as mentors, taking a personal interest in their students, and helping them to identify and harness the passion that will move them beyond mediocrity to brilliance.”


Another measure of standard that helped Bluefield College land its Top Tier status was its graduation rate. In fact, only 18 other colleges in the Top Tier of the South boast a better graduation rate than BC. In addition, Bluefield scored well in the generosity of its financial aid. The average financial aid package for incoming freshman at BC is $18,754, compared to some schools in the South who offer less than $4,000 a year.


The result of that generous financial aid: less debt for Bluefield College graduates. In fact, students who graduate from Bluefield do so with roughly $22,000 in debt, compared to the national average student debt of roughly $30,000.


“Bluefield College is honored to be recognized once again as a Top Tier college in the South by U.S. News,” said Dr. Marshall Flowers, vice president for academic affairs. “What makes this truly meaningful for the Bluefield community is that performance assessment and peer benchmarking by colleges and universities in the South help determine the rankings annually. Our students experience this level of excellence through an innovative, Christ-centered higher education in the arts, humanities, math, and sciences in more than 40 distinct academic programs.”


The annual U.S. News rankings offer the opportunity for prospective students to judge the relative quality of academic institutions based on widely accepted indicators of excellence. Schools are categorized by mission, derived from the breakdown of the types of higher education developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The categories include National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges with regions divided into North, South, Midwest, and West. Regional colleges, like Bluefield College, focus primarily on undergraduate education.


For a complete listing of the rankings for “America’s Best Colleges: 2016,” visit the U.S. News and World Report web site at




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