Brenau climbs ranks in ‘U.S. News & World Report’ lists

Students celebrate graduation
Brenau University graduates celebrate during the spring 2019 commencement ceremony on the historic Gainesville campus. The university was recently ranked in five lists of the 2020 Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

Brenau University climbed nationally recognized lists of the best universities and colleges in the country in the U.S. News World & Report 2020 Best Colleges.

The university jumped the ranks in four lists — Best Regional Universities South, Best Value Schools, Campus Ethnic Diversity and Best Colleges for Veterans — and landed on a new list: Top Performers on Social Mobility.

U.S. News uses detailed methodology to collate its lists based on years of research, literature reviews, data trends, availability of new data and more. Fifteen indicators of academic quality determine each school’s overall score within each category, including those measures Brenau is known to value such as student excellence, small class sizes, personal attention to individual students and reasonable costs.

“We are grateful for this recognition from U.S. News & World Report,” said President Anne Skleder. “But I am not the least bit surprised to hear of our rankings considering our 140 years of offering high-quality programs, our credentialed and caring professors, and most important, our students committed to learning that make this innovative, comprehensive university what it is today.”

Specifically, Brenau was ranked the No. 3 Best Regional University and No. 3 Best Value School in Georgia. The university was top in the state and No. 7 in the region for Ethnic Diversity. Finally, it was No. 2 in Georgia and the only private institution in the state listed in Best Colleges for Veterans.

The new list, Top Performers on Social Mobility, considers the graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants — those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually. Brenau tied for No. 23 on the list and was No. 2 in the state.

The purpose of the Best Colleges rankings is to help prospective students and their families compare institutions as they look for the right school. In addition to the rankings, the publication provides statistical profiles for the more than 1,800 schools in its directory. These profiles include information about a school’s cost, financial aid policies, admissions requirements, student body and more.

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, Brenau is on par with some of the nation’s top comprehensive universities, including University of Notre Dame, Cornell University, Georgetown University and Carnegie Mellon University, to name a few. The university also has a higher percentage of small classes with 78% of undergraduate classes with fewer than 20 students — and therefore opportunities for meaningful faculty-student interaction — than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Harvard University and Yale University.

“I continue to be proud to work at Brenau where faculty focus on being student-centered,” said Emily Zank, assistant vice president for academic affairs. “Especially exciting is our new ranking in the social mobility category, reminding us that each time we mentor, teach and support a student, we fulfill our mission of helping that student live an extraordinary life that will positively impact the student’s family and community for generations to come.”