Metro-East News

SIUE, McKendree and Lindenwood named top Midwestern universities

Members of the Class of 2014 make their way to the commencement ceremony at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Members of the Class of 2014 make their way to the commencement ceremony at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. znizami@bnd.com

Two metro-east schools and a third with strong ties to the area have been named to US News & World Report’s 2016 list of best regional universities in the Midwest.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville ranks 44th on the list, McKendree University is 68th and Lindenwood University, which is based in St. Charles, Mo. but has its largest satellite campus in Belleville and an extension center in Collinsville, is ranked 108th.

SIUE was 10th on the list among public schools. McKendree and Lindenwood are private universities.

Leaders of SIUE and McKendree said they were proud of the designation because it recognizes not only the quality of the education their schools provide — but also their affordability.

“SIUE is committed to student achievement and prides itself on providing students a high-quality, affordable education,” SIUE Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen said. “The university has experienced strong growth in both enrollment and retention of students. This designation recognizes the success of our vibrant learning environment composed of teacher-scholars, dedicated professional staff and rigorous programs and services.”

McKendree stood out as one of the top five schools in the Midwest for least debtload for its students at graduation, a point important to president James Dennis.

“While we are pleased to be recognized as one of the finest universities in the Midwest, we are especially proud to be listed as one of the top five best institutions in the region for lowest student debt load at graduation,” Dennis said. “We offer a high quality education that is also affordable.”

The 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges guidebook examines how accredited four-year institutions nationwide compare among widely accepted indicators of excellence. Among many factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality are: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

There were a total of 618 schools ranked in the category of regional universities in the Midwest. The list was released by U.S. News & World Report Wednesday.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or 618-239-2626. Follow him on Twitter: @scottwuerzBND.

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