Western ranked high for quality, efficiency

Western Today staff
Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 4:13pm

Western Washington University is the top-ranked public university of its type in the West, according to a new U.S. News and World Report list of highly ranked universities that operate most efficiently.

Earlier this month, another national publication – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine – also ranked Western as one of the 100 best values in public colleges.

According to U.S. News, with tight state budgets across the country, it is important for many universities and colleges to spend their limited resources to produce the highest possible educational quality. The new U.S. News list includes schools able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in U.S. News rankings, but spend relatively less money to achieve that high academic quality.

Western is the top highly ranked and efficient public master’s-granting university in the West, a region stretching from Texas to the Pacific.

“Our outstanding faculty and staff relentlessly pursue efficiencies to ensure that Western’s high quality education remains an excellent value for students,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

U.S. News measures a school's financial resources by taking into account how much it spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. U.S. News defines operating efficiency for this list as a school's 2012 fiscal year financial resources per student divided by its overall score – the basis U.S. News uses to determine its overall numerical rank – in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings.

The less a school is spending relative to its rank, the more efficient it is at producing a quality education among its peers. This means the colleges and universities on the list are doing a very good job at producing a top ranking for academic quality while carefully spending their available financial resources, as measured relative to other schools that may have greater sources of funding from states, tuition or endowments.

According to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Western overall is the highest-ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest. Western also is ranked second among top public master’s-granting universities in the West. The news magazine’s annual rankings are posted on its website, www.usnews.com/colleges. Rankings are based on a variety of criteria including academic reputation, student selectivity and retention, faculty resources, peer assessment and financial resources.                    

Western also is one of the 100 best values in public colleges, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. The recent ranking of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2014, cites four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.


Western is the top highly ranked and efficient public master’s-granting university in the West, a region stretching from Texas to the Pacific. File photo by Matthew Anderson / WWU