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University of North Georgia in top 25 public universities in South

The University of North Georgia's graduation rate is one of the factors contributing to the university's top 25 ranking from U.S. News & World Report. UNG also is recognized in the report as the top public regional university in the South for the least amount of debt load for the class of 2012.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) is ranked 22nd among public universities in the South in the rankings released today in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 edition of Best Colleges.

"We are so proud of our student success rates and academic excellence, which continue to earn the University of North Georgia high marks among our peer institutions," said Bonita C. Jacobs, UNG president. "Our achievements are a reflection of the university's outstanding students and a world-class faculty and staff that contribute to an excellent academic reputation and confirm the supportive and challenging educational environment UNG provides."

The rankings consider graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), peer assessments (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent), and alumni giving (5 percent). The measures are based primarily on data from fall 2012 and, for some factors, include averages of the previous two to four years of data.

This fall, UNG is serving nearly 16,000 students across its four campuses – in Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County. UNG was formed through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) and Gainesville State College (GSC) in January 2013 and now offers more than 100 programs of study and opportunities ranging from certificates and associate degrees to a variety of graduate programs, including a professional doctorate in physical therapy.

Each of the institutions has historically been among the top performers in its sector and UNG continues to attract some of the most talented students in the state. For fall 2012, the mean high school grade point average of NGCSU's entering freshmen was 3.51, the third-highest among all schools in the University System of Georgia, just behind the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Additionally, the U.S. News report ranked UNG as the top public regional university in the South for the least amount of debt load for the class of 2012, with 57 percent of its students who borrowed money for school at some point graduating debt free.

"That designation really speaks to the high value of UNG, the ability of our students to earn scholarships to offset educational expenses, and to the university's track record of graduating students in a timely manner to ensure they don't waste time or financial resources," Jacobs said.

UNG also was included among the report's list of "A-Plus Schools for B Students, which identifies colleges and universities that admit solidly prepared high school students and provide an educational environment that helps them advance toward their educational goals.

A member of the University System of Georgia, UNG is the state's second-oldest public university and is designated as a state leadership institution. Additionally, UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States and is designated as The Military College of Georgia. The other five senior military colleges are the Citadel, Norwich University, Texas A & M, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.

For the purposes of the U.S. News publication, regional universities are categorized as institutions that provide a range of undergraduate majors and master's programs, but few doctoral programs. This year's report ranked 621 universities in this category against their peer group in four different geographic regions: North, South, Midwest and West. Other ranking categories include national universities, national liberal arts colleges, and regional colleges. Including public and private universities, UNG was ranked as 55th among Best Regional Universities in the South.

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