USD ranks best in the Dakotas for second consecutive year
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USD ranks best in the Dakotas for second consecutive year

USD was ranked the highest of all universities in North and South Dakota for the second consecutive time in the latest U.S. News and World Report’s “Best National Universities” list early this month.

USD ranked number 239, 10 spots higher than its place on last year’s list. USD has been ranked as one of the “Best National Universities” by U.S. News and World Report for 30 consecutive years. The university also ranked the highest of any North or South Dakota public universities in the “Top Public Schools” list, at number 118.

The rankings assess 1,466 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on 17 metrics, each measured on an overall score of 100. These metrics include graduation and retention rates, social mobility, faculty resources, average alumni giving rate and graduate indebtedness, among others.

USD President Sheila Gestring said in a press release earlier this month that the ranking is a testament to the commitment of USD’s faculty and staff and the accomplishments of students.

“USD is committed to offering an affordable education to both in-state and out-of-state students, and I’m proud to note that we have the highest graduation rate among the South Dakota Board of Regents institutions and regional and national peer groups,” Gestring said in the press release.

Mark Petty, Dean of Enrollment at USD, said the ranking is a validation for the university.

“We have a very strong academic program and vibrant campus community that is attractive to prospective students,” Petty said. “It helps us speak to the validity of the University of South Dakota, of what we have to offer here.”

Scott Pohlson, vice president of enrollment, marketing and university relations, said that while prospective students are not necessarily likely to place much weight on the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings, the university takes the rankings as a point of pride.

“The best news is that since we’re ranked the highest of both any North Dakota and South Dakota institutions, that’s great for us,” Pohlson said. “Because that’s something we can hang our hats on.”

Pohlson said a higher place in these rankings is not the primary goal of USD, but that improvements within the university will often coincide with a higher ranking.

“We’re always trying to get better,” Pohlson said. “In a lot of ways, we’re always working on these measures.”