Texas Lutheran University (TLU) is an official U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” selection among regional colleges in the West, ranking second on the list for “Best Value,” and fifth overall. This is the eighth consecutive year TLU has been featured on the “Best Value” rankings. Other notable recognitions include TLU’s acknowledgment as a top 20 regional college for Social Mobility—the fourth year the university has appeared in this category.
“Being a top-rated institution in the social mobility category reflects TLU’s strength in serving our students well and ensuring their path to success, regardless of their economic background,” TLU President Dr. Debbie Cottrell said. “The personal education we offer all our students and the attention we give to their complete college experience mean that our students are supported and prepared for a full range of post-collegiate opportunities. We’re pleased to see that our mission, efforts, and priorities are publicly recognized.”
Rankings are based on data collected from several categories, including academic reputation, admissions selectivity, faculty resources, retention, graduation rates and alumni support. U.S. News & World Report then ranks colleges and universities based upon region and classification. Regional schools focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts and in fields such as business, nursing, and education.
TLU earns the No. 2 spot in the West for “Best Value” based on its high overall ranking combined with modest net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. According to U.S. News & World Report, these are schools that are above average academically and cost considerably less than many other schools when the financial aid they award, in the form of need-based grants and scholarships, is considered. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included, because the publication considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.
Social mobility measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000). According to U.S. News, this group of students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics. However, colleges like TLU are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants.