THANKS IN PART TO ITS SMALL CLASS SIZES AND PERSONAL ATTENTION TO STUDENTS, BLUEFIELD COLLEGE HAS BEEN BEEN RANKED AMONG THE BEST COLLEGES IN THE SOUTH IN U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT’S “AMERICA’S BEST COLLEGES: 2017.”
Only 58 colleges in the South region made U.S. News’ Top Tier list. Bluefield ranked 37th among the Top Tier schools 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 75 colleges in the South region, where Bluefield College ranked 37th based on its strong scores in the areas of small class sizes, graduation rates, financial aid packages, and limited debt of graduates.
“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.”
In addition to naming Bluefield College among the overall Top Tier colleges in the South, U.S. News also included BC in its highest ranked “Best Value Schools,” based in part on the fact that Bluefield graduates are leaving college with an average debt load of about $22,000, compared to the national average debt of about $30,000 for every college student.
“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: 2017,” visit the U.S. News and World Report web site at www.usnews.com/colleges.