POINT LOOKOUT, MO. —College of the Ozarks was named among The Best 2024 Colleges, by The Wall Street Journal. The College was measured by the value provided to students in the areas of tuition (C of O is a Work College and students graduate debt free), learning environment, graduation rate, and whether or not they have a higher salary when they graduate.
Over 1,700 U.S. colleges meeting the following criteria were eligible to be considered for the ranking: title IV eligible, awards four-year bachelor’s degrees, located in the 50 states or Washington, D.C., has more than 900 undergraduate students, is financially solvent, not for-profit, and has public data availability. Colleges not meeting these criteria were excluded from the analysis. Moreover, colleges had to receive at least 50 valid responses in the survey to be considered for further analysis.
Following this analysis, the 400 Best Colleges in the U.S. were awarded. College of the Ozarks ranked as follows:
“We no longer reward colleges’ wealth or reputation in and of themselves,” writes Harry Carr of The Wall Street Journal. “Gone is the survey of academics on schools’ reputations. Gone are the rewards for instructional spending and the assumption that the quality of education is largely dictated by how expensive it is to produce. In their place we’ve expanded the importance of student outcomes: graduation rates and graduate salaries. Critically, we now put greater emphasis on measuring the value added by colleges—not simply measuring their students’ success but focusing on the contribution the college makes to that success.”
To inform this ranking, one of the largest ever independent surveys of verified college students in the U.S. was conducted via College Pulse. In total, 60,953 students and recent alumni were surveyed online, between January and May 2023. The data was weighted to the profile of the population of each college.
“We are honored to be considered as one of the 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S., per The Wall Street Journal,” said Valorie Coleman, College of the Ozarks public relations director. “Their methodology has changed to look more at outcomes, so the fact that our students work to offset the cost of their education and graduate debt free allows us to excel. We are incredibly proud to rank among the best in social mobility, student experience, and salary impact. This tells us we are offering our students’ a quality education through which they can break the cycle of poverty, which is our mission at Hard Work U.”
The ranking of the Best Colleges in the U.S., as measured by the value they provide to their students - in terms of tuition and learning environment, ensuring students complete their degree, and increasing the likelihood of a higher salary after graduation. The results are based on official data from the department of education and the census bureau, a nationwide survey conducted with undergraduate college students and recent undergraduate alumni who graduated within the last five years.
For the student outcome, publicly available data was analyzed to measure the salary impact vs similar colleges, graduation rates vs similar colleges, and years to pay off net fees for a four-year course. This allows WSJ to calculate the return on investment of obtaining a degree at a specific college and then comparing this return to the performance of similar colleges.
View the 2024 rankings at Best U.S. Colleges 2024 - WSJ / College Pulse Rankings - WSJ.com
Full methodology can be viewed at America's Best Colleges 2024 Methodology.pdf