UNC Asheville Moves Up to No. 7 in “U.S. News and World Report’s” Ranking of Public Liberal Arts Colleges; Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects, Management & Accountancy, Affordability and Admissions Recognized Nationally

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UNC Asheville has tied for the seventh spot among public liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report’s new “2018 Best Colleges,” released online today. The university also earns recognition as one of the 25 National Liberal Arts Colleges where students graduate with the least amount of debt – an average of $22,026 for UNC Asheville graduates with debt, several thousand below the state and national average – and with 47 percent of UNC Asheville graduates debt-free.

U.S. News and World Report also highlights schools with outstanding programs linked to student success. Among these programs, UNC Asheville earned top marks for Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects. This “enriched offering” gained recognition among university peers, including college presidents, chief academic officers and deans of admissions, who nominated institutions with stellar examples of research as well as learning communities, internships, service learning, study abroad, capstone projects, and writing in the disciplines.

“UNC Asheville continues to be an innovator and leader in the liberal arts, and it is an honor to stand with our colleagues on this national list. This ranking recognizes the important and exceptional work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Chancellor Mary K. Grant.

In addition, UNC Asheville is included on the list of “A+ Schools for B Students.” This list recognizes schools that seek and admit a broad and engaged student body, admitting a meaningful proportion of applicants whose test scores and class standing put them in non-A territory.

As U.S. News and World Report states, these schools are where students “have a decent shot of being accepted and thriving – where spirit and hard work could make all the different to the admissions office. ... Be sure to display your individuality and seriousness of purpose when you apply.”

“UNC Asheville’s holistic admissions strategy is the start of the liberal arts approach that our students experience on campus. It’s interdisciplinary and in many ways interactive and conversational, as we encourage students to show us what they’ll bring to campus and to visit campus to see the educational excellence first-hand. Those details can make the difference,” said Senior Admissions and Financial Aid Director Steve McKellips.

The U.S. News rankings are based on several measures of quality including graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance (the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates), and alumni giving. National Liberal Arts Colleges ranked by U.S. News & World Report emphasize undergraduate education. To be included in this category, colleges must award at least 50 percent of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines, such as English, biology and physical sciences, history, foreign languages, and the visual and performing arts.

UNC Asheville’s Department of Management and Accountancy also makes the list for the best business programs, based on its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Less than one-third of management and accountancy programs in the U.S. earn this recognition and only 5 percent of the 16,000 business programs worldwide are accredited by AACSB.

The list of the top seven public liberal arts colleges includes the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, Virginia Military Institute and fellow members of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC): St. Mary’s College of Maryland, New College of Florida, and the University of Minnesota, Morris, which ties with UNC Asheville at No. 7. The universities also tie for 141 on the first tier of national liberal arts colleges list, public and private. U.S. News and World Report listed 233 liberal arts colleges on the first tier, including 20 public liberal arts colleges.

Applications for spring and fall are now being accepted at UNC Asheville, with an early action admissions deadline of Nov. 15, which is also the deadline for priority consideration for Laurels and Pisgah Scholarships. Visit the Admissions Office website to learn more.