October 20, 2021

Shawnee State University has been ranked among the best colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row.

Campus from drone shot overhead

“Our programs, services and mission to student success are gaining national attention,” Dr. Jeff Bauer, SSU President said. “Shawnee State is proud to offer nationally-ranked game design, plastics, occupational therapy, and health care administration programs, in addition to all of our regionally-recognized health-related, education, arts and sciences programs.”

SSU ranked #40-52 in Top Public Schools in Regional Universities Midwest on the U.S. News & World Report ranking for 2022 while also ranking in at #119-#157 overall in Best Regional Universities Midwest. SSU was one of only 52 schools across the nation that ranked on both lists. 

Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence including academic quality, graduation and retention rates, student-to-faculty ratio, social mobility, affordability, faculty resources, alumni giving, and graduate indebtedness. Rankings for the Regional Universities category are for colleges that offer a full range of undergraduate programs, some master’s programs, and a few doctoral programs. These rankings are split into four regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

“All of these categories are linked to our focus on student success at Shawnee State,” Bauer said. “Over the last decade, we have significantly improved student retention and graduation rates, helping students overcome barriers to earning their degrees through advising, tutoring, and financial aid counseling.”

SSU serves a unique mission of open access and service to underrepresented student populations, including first-generation college students. Delivering on that mission helped SSU earn the #144 rank in Top Performers on Social Mobility in the 2022 U.S. New & World Report ranking. This ranking is a seven spot increase on the list from last year’s position.  

Rankings in this category encompassed economically disadvantaged students who are less likely than others to finish college, yet colleges in this ranking are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students eligible for federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.

“Of all the rankings, awards and recognition earned by SSU and our programs, this one is the most meaningful for us,” Bauer said. “This gets to the heart of what we do – change lives through education. Social mobility is the movement of students from low-income brackets before college to higher income brackets after earning their degrees.”

In the Graduate School category, SSU ranked #185 in Occupational Therapy.

“We’re unique in that we offer the full continuum of occupational therapy degrees. These degrees are recognized for excellence and are helping to meet the workforce needs in our region,” Bauer said. 

SSU offers several degrees in occupational therapy including a two-year associate’s degree that prepares graduates for careers as occupational therapy assistants; the master’s degree that is also offered as a compressed 3+2 degree for incoming freshman who want to prepare for a career as an occupational therapist in five years; and the post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy designed for therapists interested in advancing their careers.

U.S. News & World Report profiled over 1,800 schools as part of the Best Colleges rankings and evaluated each on 17 indicators of academic quality.