Ozarks leaps into top tier; third best value

Release Date: 8/20/1999

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. --- The University of the Ozarks moved into the top tier of Best Regional Liberal Arts Colleges in the South and was named the third best value among Regional Liberal Arts Colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report in its year 2000 guide to colleges and universities.

In its annual America's Best Colleges edition, which is scheduled to hit the newsstands on Monday, U.S. News & World Report ranked more than 1,400 schools based on such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
   
In the Best Regional Liberal Arts Colleges category, Ozarks was tied for 21st with Flagler College in Florida and Mississippi University for Women in the 32-school top tier. Ozarks was in the second tier in last year's rankings.
   
In the Best Values category, Ozarks ranked third in the south behind Lyon College in Batesville, Ark., and Claflin College in South Carolina. The value rankings relate the cost of attending a college or university to its quality, according to the magazine's ranking system. Ozarks' 1999-2000 tuition cost of $4,145 per semester is almost one-half of the national average for a private, liberal arts university.
   
"This ranking places us in the top tier of liberal arts universities in the south, and we appreciate the recognition," said Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece. "We are among the best in the quality of education we offer students and, as the oldest university in Arkansas, we offer that education in the best tradition. U.S. News & World Report also ranks University of the Ozarks as number three in best values in the southern region. Our quality and value are hard to beat."
   
Ozarks was the recipient of a $39.5 million challenge gift --- the largest ever given to a private university in Arkansas --- in October from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The gift kicked off a five-year, $55-million campaign to strengthen academic programs, student services and facilities at the four-year, liberal arts school.
   
According to a news release faxed by U.S. News & World Report, Ozarks was one of four Arkansas private colleges ranked in the top tier of Best Regional Liberal Arts Colleges, joining Lyon College, John Brown University and Ouachita Baptist University.
   
"Four private schools in Arkansas are ranked as top tier regional institutions and those rankings say a great deal about the merits of private university education in the state," Niece said. "We are providing an exceptional education, and our extremely high graduation rates and student retention rates reflect our students' success and satisfaction."