September 14, 2020

Annually, the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges lists come out to help prospective college students narrow their college search. For 2021, the report evaluated over 1,400 different institutions of higher education, accessing their overall academic quality. This year, Columbia College found itself on four of those lists outside of the overall regional ranking: Economic Diversity, Best College for Veterans, Best Value School, and Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Columbia College ranked 47 out of 134 in the Best Regional Universities in the South category. This region consists of 12 states ranging from as far west as Louisiana and as far north as West Virginia. Deciding factors for ranking include categories such as retention and graduation rates, social mobility, faculty resources, and financial resources.

The college was also ranked 28 in the region for Best Colleges for Veterans in the South region. In order to be considered for this ranking, the school must be certified for the GI Bill, participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, enroll a minimum of 20 veterans and/or active duty service members, and must be in the top half of its U.S. News ranking category. Columbia College makes a great effort to create a seamless admissions process for veterans and active-duty military members by having a representative on campus to help facilitate and aid in the transition to college.

As a top performer on Social Mobility, Columbia College ranked in the top 10 in the southern region. This designation identifies how well schools enroll and graduate larger proportions of disadvantaged students awarded 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).

The third and fourth-ranking names Columbia College 24th in Best Value Schools and 13th in Ethnic Diversity in the South region for 2021. The honor of Best Value is bestowed upon schools that can keep the cost of attendance down while not affecting the quality of programs offered. U.S. News identifies colleges for the Ethnic Diversity rankings where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial and ethnic groups different from their own.

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