The University of North Georgia (UNG) is ranked 16th among public regional universities in the South in the rankings released today in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of Best Colleges, up three steps from its position as 19th in the 2015 edition of the report.
"UNG has a strong history of academic excellence, student success and economic value, which is reflected in our consistent annual ranking by U.S. News as a top regional university in the South," said UNG President Bonita Jacobs. "UNG is a regional and national leader for academic excellence, engagement, educational opportunity and leadership development. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and UNG's mission, vision and values are well-aligned for continued success."
The rankings of regional universities consider graduation and retention rates, peer assessments, class sizes and student/faculty ratios, student selectivity, graduation rate performance (the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates), and alumni giving. The rankings are based primarily on data from 2014 and, for some factors, include averages of the previous two to four years of data.
This fall, UNG is serving more than 17,000 students across its five campuses – in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County – and is one of the largest public universities in Georgia.
In February, U.S. News named UNG as the third-most efficient regional university in the South in an exclusive analysis that compared spending and educational quality. For the analysis, U.S. News looked at the schools that scored well in the publication's "2015 Best Colleges" rankings on overall undergraduate academic educational quality, but spent relatively less on their educational programs to achieve that quality.
UNG offers a broad range of degree programs and admission pathways through five campuses and on online, with more than 100 programs of study and opportunities ranging from certificates and associate degrees to a variety of graduate programs. UNG also offers dual-enrollment opportunities for high school students and continuing education and professional development courses for adults.
The 2016 Best Colleges report also ranked UNG as the best public regional university in the South for the least amount of debt load, with 49 percent of its students who borrowed money for school at some point graduating debt-free. Those who did graduate from UNG with student loan debt had an average debt of $12,892.
As one of only six federally-designated senior military colleges in the United States, UNG is the Military College of Georgia, and its leadership development experiences have earned it designation as a state leadership institution by the University System of Georgia
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, and few doctoral programs. This year's report ranked 618 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 53rd among Best Regional Universities in the South.