‘Best Colleges’ ranks West Michigan schools


A number of buildings make up GVSU’s Pew campus in downtown Grand Rapids, including the Richard M. DeVos Center. Photo via fb.com

A number of schools in West Michigan are featured in the “Best Colleges” rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Calvin College ranks as the No. 1 “Regional College” in the Midwest and Grand Valley State University heads up the list of local schools ranking as one of the “Best Regional Universities" in the Midwest at No. 27 and as the No. 3 best public school in the Midwest. Western Michigan University lands at No. 194 in the ranking of "National Universities."

The 2017 rankings by U.S. News & World Report compare the academic quality of more than 1,800 schools in the nation, ranking each school on 15 criteria, including graduation and retention rates.

Schools included in the national rankings are not included in regional rankings.


Prior to ranking, U.S. News & World Report categorized schools into categories based on their missions: National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges and Regional Universities and Regional Colleges. The regional schools were then divided into North, South, Midwest and West.

The publication then gathered data from each college on 15 indicators of academic excellence, which are individually weighted to come up with a composite score: six-year graduation rate; first-year retention rate; undergraduate academic reputation (comprising academic peer assessment and high school counselors’ rankings); class size; faculty salary; professor degrees; student-faculty ratio; full-time faculty proportion; SAT; and composite ACT scores; students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes; acceptance rates; financial resources; graduation rate performance; and alumni giving rate.

Top Midwest schools

GVSU slipped one spot from last year’s ranking, No. 26, of the best schools in the Midwest, but it held steady as the No. 3 top public school in the Midwest.

Several schools in the region rank as top Midwest colleges: Aquinas College, No. 56; Kuyper College, No. 60; Ferris State University, No. 74; and Cornerstone University, No. 79. Davenport University is also listed, but the school’s rank is not published.

Aquinas College is also ranked as the No. 3 "Best Value" school in the Midwest, and Ferris State University joins GVSU on the list of top public schools in the Midwest, at No. 18.

Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. is ranked the top college in the Midwest.

Top national schools

In addition to landing at No. 194 in the "National Universities" ranking, WMU ranks as the No. 103 top public school in the nation.

For the sixth straight year, Princeton University holds the top overall spot, followed by Harvard University and a tie between the University of Chicago and Yale University for No. 3.

Several other Michigan schools appear in the “Best National Universities” rankings: University of Michigan, No. 27; Michigan State University, No. 82; Michigan Technological University, No. 118; Andrews University, No. 183; Central Michigan University, No. 202; Eastern Michigan University, rank not published; Oakland University, rank not published; and Wayne State University, rank not published.

Rankings of West Michigan colleges

Aquinas College: No. 54 “Regional Universities Midwest”; No. 40 “Best Colleges for Veterans”

Calvin College: No. 1 “Regional Colleges Midwest”; No. 1 “Best Undergraduate Teaching”; No. 1 “Best Colleges for Veterans”; No. 42 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs”

Cornerstone University: No. 79 “Regional Universities Midwest”; No. 143 “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”; No. 182 “Best Online Graduate Education Programs”; “Best Online MBA Programs”*; “Best Online Graduate Business Programs” (excluding MBA)*

Davenport University: No. 180 “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”; “Best Online MBA Programs”*; “Best Online Graduate Business Programs” (Excluding MBA)*; “Regional Universities Midwest”*

Ferris State University: No. 74 “Regional Universities Midwest”; No. 42 “Best Colleges for Veterans”; No. 18 “Top Public Schools”; No. 111 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs”; No. 49 “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”; No. 152 “Best Online MBA Programs”; No. 65 “Best Online Graduate Business Programs” (excluding MBA); No. 69 “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs”; “Best Education Schools”*

Grace Bible College: “Regional Colleges Midwest”*

Grand Valley State University: No. 27 “Regional Universities Midwest”; No. 3 “Top Public Schools”; No. 55 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs”; No. 283 “Business Programs”; No. 104 “Best Online Graduate Education Programs”; “Best Business Schools”**; “Best Nursing Schools”**

Hope College: No. 108 “National Liberal Arts College”; No. 106 “High School Counselors Rankings”; No. 69 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs”

Kalamazoo College: No. 66 “National Liberal Arts College”; No. 49 “Best Colleges for Veterans” No. 57 “High School Counselors Rankings”

Kuyper College: No. 60 “Regional College Midwest”

Western Michigan University: No. 194 “National University”; No. 103 “Top Public Schools”; No. 220 “High School Counselor Rankings”; No. 183 “Business Programs”; No. 183 “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs”; No. 130 “Best Online Graduate Education Programs”; No. 126 “Best Education Schools”; “Best Engineering Schools”*; “Best Business Schools”**

* rank not "published"

** college is "unranked," due to the fact that it either doesn't use ACT or SAT scores, has an enrollment of less than 200 or has a high population of non-traditional students

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