NAU breaks into U.S. News & World Report’s list of top public schools in the nation

Best Colleges

Northern Arizona University was ranked No. 144 for top public schools on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings for 2021. This is the first time NAU has been nationally ranked. The key metrics used in the rankings include class sizes, student to faculty ratio, achievement of Pell Grant recipients and social mobility index, institutional resources, retention and graduation rates and peer assessment of an institution’s academic reputation.

This ranking is the result of collective work by faculty and staff across campus who have supported student success, as evidenced by record-breaking first year retention and six-year graduation rates, and bolstered the institution’s national profile through exceptional research and scholarship that have seen NAU’s research expenditures more than double over the last six years.

NAU also was listed among schools with the least student debt load at graduation—the only university in Arizona to achieve this distinction. This ranking is a reflection of NAU’s overall mission of access and affordability for its students.

NAU also was ranked 46th for undergraduate engineering programs in universities without an engineering doctorate program (NAU’s doctoral program in engineering started this year) and No. 284 for all national universities.

Other rankings include:

Undergraduate computer science programs: No. 230

Undergraduate business: No. 201

“These rankings reflect NAU’s commitment to providing a high-quality education while keeping our costs low and focusing on the needs of the workforce in our state and nation,” NAU President Rita Cheng said. “I’m gratified to see our excellent engineering, business and computer science programs recognized nationally and to see our graduates make a real difference in their fields as they enter industry.”

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