Misericordia University is ranked 44th out of 143 colleges and universities in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities North category of U.S. News & World Report's 2017 edition of Best Colleges, which includes institutions of higher education in the northern United States that offer master's degree and some doctoral programs.
The annual report also named Misericordia a "Best Value'' institution of higher education, as it ranked 25th in the Best Regional Universities North category that has 187 colleges and universities ranked in the first and second tiers of the Best Regional Universities rankings. The ranking, according to U.S. News & World Report, takes into account a university's academic quality, net cost of attendance and ranking in the top tier.
"The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,'' U.S. News & World Report said about the 'Best Value' ranking. "Only schools in or near the top half of their ranking categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that perform well academically.''
Misericordia University has climbed 23 places in the rankings since 2007. In the latest edition, Misericordia is included in a tight grouping of 13 colleges and universities that are separated by two points for the rankings of 38 through 44. Luzerne County's oldest college and newest university is in a seven-way tie for 44th place with 62 overall points.
"We are grateful for the national recognition that comes with these ranking services," said Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., president of Misericordia University. "Misericordia has a time-tested mission of providing rigorous academics and the personal attention students need to succeed in life and in their careers, while also instilling in them a sense of service to those who have been marginalized in society.
"Through our many volunteer efforts, study abroad programs, and challenging academic majors, our community works diligently to foster intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and respect for people in an environment where all are welcome,'' President Botzman added.
For smaller, regional institutions like Misericordia University, name recognition plays a negative factor in the rankings. Of the overall score, 22.5 percent is derived from peer reviews – surveys of other college presidents, academic deans and admissions counselors. Many are located far outside the region and might not know Misericordia as well as they could.
For example, other data elements that were used to calculate the rankings had Misericordia matching or exceeding other highly ranked colleges and universities. Misericordia's 72-percent graduate rate is higher than 20 institutions that are ranked higher, while the alumni giving rate of 18 percent is equal to or better than all but three competitors. Misericordia's student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1 and its 83-percent first-year student retention rate also are competitive.
In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Misericordia University as one of the top college and universities in the northeastern United States. The colleges are selected for the list based on their "excellent academics" and the results of a survey of students on their campus experiences as well as how they rated various aspects of their college life.
Misericordia University is ranked among the top 24 percent of all master's degree-granting institutions of higher education in the country by Washington Monthly magazine in a survey that stresses community service and social mobility. The magazine also named Misericordia a "Best Bang for the Buck'' college, as it is among the best "colleges in America that do the best job of helping nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices,'' according to Washington Monthly.
Recent Misericordia University biology graduates Rachel Bohn, Mountain Top, Pa., left, and Palmer Steiner, Millville, Pa., right, conducted cancer cell research as undergraduates with Frank DiPino, Jr., Ph.D., professor of biology, as part of the Summer Research Fellowship Program.