Murray State University (MSU) has taken its top rankings streak into its 24th consecutive year of being recognized by U.S.News & World Report’s Best Colleges as one of the top schools in the country. The 2015 rankings have just been released and Murray State is in ninth place among the top public regional universities in the South.

Murray State continues to be the top-ranked public regional university in Kentucky in the Regional Universities-South category, which contains both private and public schools.

“The rankings confirm what we know to be one of the core strengths of Murray State — our commitment to providing the highest quality educational opportunities while remaining student centered. It doesn’t surprise me that our dedication continues to be recognized nationally. We will continue to build on these strengths and provide our students with opportunities to compete and succeed,” said Dr. Bob Davies, president of Murray State University.

U.S.News Best Colleges follows a methodology that is two-pronged. The formula uses quantitative measures that education experts view as reliable indicators of academic quality and U.S.News’ researched view of what matters in education.

Regional Universities, the category in which Murray State is ranked, is defined as those schools that offer a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master’s degree programs with few, if any, doctoral programs. The May 2014 Commencement at MSU saw the university’s first-ever doctoral graduates with five students receiving the doctor of nursing practice.

This year’s methodology was changed considerably from previous rankings periods to reduce the weight of input factors while increasing the weight of output measures. Such changes included a reduction of the weight of high school class standing in favor of more emphasis being placed on SAT and ACT scores, and how graduation rates were factored into the rankings.

Most of the data collected comes from the schools themselves. This year, U.S.News reports that 91 percent of the 1,376 ranked colleges and universities surveyed returned statistical information during the data collection period.

The overall assessment measures in order of weight are undergraduate academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

“The host of intangibles that make up the college experiences can’t be measured by a series of data points,” noted Robert Morse and Sam Flanigan of U.S.News Best Colleges. “But for families concerned with finding the best academic value for their money, the U.S.News Best Colleges rankings provide an excellent starting point for the search.”

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