TLU again ranks among nation’s best universities

Saturday, September 19, 2020

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Joe Martin The Seguin Gazette

Texas Lutheran University earned recognition as a top regional school and one of the greatest colleges to work for in the country.

The local higher learning institution placed second on the list for Best Value and fourth overall in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” selections among regional colleges in the West, Ashlie Ford, Texas Lutheran University’s director of marketing, said in a news release. The school also landed recognition at the number five spot as a top performer in Social Mobility, the release reads. 

This marks the sixth consecutive year the school earned Best Value rankings. This also is the second year as a top performer in Social Mobility — a category U.S. News & World Report introduced last year, when the school also placed in the category, Ford said. 

“I’m very pleased that the strengths of TLU are being recognized again,” TLU President Debbie Cottrell said. “In particular, being acknowledged in the categories of Best Value and Social Mobility connects to our mission of being an accessible institution that identifies with and works to serve our region through our commitment to academic excellence, servant leadership and career development.” 

The U.S. News & World Report website shows about 100 colleges in the West region observed, with 33 earning rankings. 

“They look at all these different factors, graduation rates, retention rates, they also rank where people graduate with the most debt or the least debt,” Ford said. “There’s all these different categories, but we are consistently ranked among the best colleges in the West and then now the social mobility in the west for regional colleges.” 

The rankings are determined through metrics such as academic reputation, admissions selectivity, faculty resources, retention, graduation rates and alumni support. Once U.S. News & World Report gathers the data, it ranks the colleges based on region and classification, the release read.

“There’s your national universities; those are your Princetons, your Harvards or Columbia, and then they have all the different education rankings,” Ford said. “They’ll do best colleges broken down into all those different categories and regions, best grad schools, best online colleges. There’s all these different categories, but we are consistently ranked among the best colleges in the West and now the social mobility in the West for regional colleges.” 

Texas Lutheran University earned its number two placement in the West thanks to a high overall ranking and the university’s net cost of attendance for students who receive “the average level of need-based financial aid,” the release read. 

“These are schools that are about average academically and cost considerably less than many other schools when the financial aid that they dispense, in the form of need-based grants and scholarships, is considered,” the release read.

The newly-created Social Mobility category measures the number of students who graduate while receiving federal Pell grants. 

“We know from national data and research that economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics,” Ford said. “They just tend to not graduate or graduate in a certain amount of time compared to other students.” 

For the 2019-2020 school year, about 40% of Texas Lutheran University students received Pell grants, she said.  

“Some colleges are much more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of that student population that receives Pell grants,” Ford said

Also, Texas Lutheran University recently was recognized by a ModernThink survey as one of the country’s “Great Colleges to Work For,” a press release provided by Ford read.

This recognition marks the ninth consecutive year TLU has placed in the 13-year-old survey.

The survey recognizes quality of workplace along with innovative educational experiences. This year, Texas Lutheran University won honors in five categories — Collaborative Governance, Confidence in Senior Leadership Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship, Teaching Environment, and Tenure Clarity and Process, the release read.

“This kind of external recognition underscores the many strengths of the TLU community,” Cottrell said. “We know that our ability to serve our students well is directly tied to the work and commitment of our faculty and staff members, and the environment in which their work is carried out.”

More than 200 institutions participated in the survey, and 79 were nominated as a “2020 Great College to Work For,” the release read.

In addition, 42 of those 200 institutions were selected for honor roll, including Texas Lutheran University.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com

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Category: TLU, news

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