September 15, 2022

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

SSU campus photo

“Shawnee State is making an exceptional college education possible for all students,” Dr. Jeff Bauer, SSU President said. “Nationally-ranked degrees, combined with free and low tuition, sets us apart.”

SSU ranked #45-56 in Top Public Schools in Regional Universities Midwest on the U.S. News & World Report ranking for 2023 while also ranking in at #127-166 overall in Best Regional Universities Midwest. SSU was one of only 56 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.

“We prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world,” Bauer said. “That’s our mission, and something we take seriously. We maintain a 15:1 student-to-teacher ratio where students receive personalized attention from faculty who are experts in their fields. Professors get to know students, their strengths and their goals – and take a personal interest in helping them succeed.”

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 #98 rank in Top Performers on Social Mobility in the 2023 U.S. New & World Report ranking. This ranking is a forty-four-rank increase on the list from last year’s position.  

“To us, this ranking gets to the heart of what Shawnee State is all about,” Eric Braun, SSU Vice President for Advancement and Enrollment Management, said. “Shawnee State degrees change lives — those of our students, their families, and those who live and work here. Our graduates are launching successful careers that provide opportunities for significantly higher family incomes and meet the workforce needs of our region.” 

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.

“About 60 percent of this fall’s incoming freshmen class are from southern Ohio counties,” Braun said. “One in every ten of these students qualified for free tuition, providing them a chance to complete their degrees without taking on debt. That has a lasting impact on all of us and we are grateful to the SSU Development Foundation donors who support this program as well as a number of scholarship programs at Shawnee.”

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

“Occupational Therapy was our first master’s degree and our first doctorate degree at Shawnee State,” Bauer said. “It is one of our signature programs known for its quality and impact on the region.” 

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 1,500 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions as part of the Best Colleges rankings and evaluated each on 17 indicators of academic quality.