“U.S. News and World Report” Again Ranks UNC Asheville a Top Public Liberal Arts University

The Quad and Mount Pisgah from Ramsey Library steps.
September 19, 2019

UNC Asheville has once again garnered a spot – tied for eighth among the nation’s top public liberal arts universities in U.S. News and World Report’s new “2020 Best Colleges,” released online this month.

In addition to being named among the Top Public Liberal Arts Colleges, UNC Asheville gained inclusion for the first time on U.S. News’ “web-exclusive” list of Most Innovative Schools. This list, begun just five years ago by U.S. News, is based on surveys of university presidents, provosts and deans. “This ranking enables top college officials to pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes the colleges are making on their campuses,” according to U.S. News.

High school students and their families can learn more about UNC Asheville’s approach to the liberal arts and sciences on Sept. 28 at the Discovery Day open house. Members of the faculty participate along with admission and financial aid staff, and students will lead tours and answer questions. More information is available at unca.edu/admission.

Two UNC Asheville programs also earned U.S. News recognition, with the Engineering Program, a joint degree with N.C. State, included in the 2020 list of Undergraduate Engineering Programs. UNC Asheville’s Department of Management and Accountancy also makes the list for the best business programs, based on its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Only 5 percent of the world’s schools offering business degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher have earned AACSB accreditation.

UNC Asheville also is included on the list of “A+ Schools for B Students.” This list recognizes schools that seek and admit a broad and engaged student body, admitting a meaningful proportion of applicants whose test scores and class standing put them in non-A territory. In addition, UNC Asheville is ranked 21st among National Liberal Arts Colleges for social mobility, which is new for the 2020 edition. The social mobility ranking is computed from the two ranking factors assessing graduation rates of Pell-awarded students.

The Best Colleges rankings assess academic quality across 15 measures, using a formula that places an emphasis on educational quality and outcomes. Graduation and retention rates are weighted most heavily and account for one-third of a school’s academic rank. Faculty resources, experts’ opinions of academic reputation, financial resources, student excellence, standardized tests and high school class standing, and alumni giving are also included.

UNC Asheville also is ranked highly by The Princeton Review, recently earning a national top-20 spot on the list for “Best Quality of Life,” “Town-Gown Relations are Great,” and several others. UNC Asheville has ranked in the top two nationally for the “Best Schools for Making an Impact,” in The Princeton Review’s “Colleges that Pay You Back,” in two of the past four years.