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Woodbury University looks beyond U.S. News & World Report rankings

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Woodbury University ranked in the top 50 of regional schools in three main categories, and just outside in a fourth.
(File Photo)

Though U.S. News and World Report magazine offered some generally positive reviews for Woodbury University on Monday afternoon, the national ranking system was not too kind in terms of its overall score.

Woodbury ranked in the top 50 of regional schools in three of four main categories, and just outside in the fourth, though the school’s president says he doesn’t pay much attention to the marks.

“While the U.S. News and World Report rankings get a lot of attention each year, Woodbury is more concerned with ensuring that our academic offerings and our campus environment are serving our specific students in ways that help them become successful,” David Steele-Figueredo, the university’s president, said in a statement.

Woodbury finished tied for 53rd place among regional universities in the western United States, a massive area that stretches as far east as Texas and Oklahoma out to the Pacific Ocean and includes Alaska and Hawaii.

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The ranking is an improvement for Woodbury, which tied last year for 59th place with Texas A&M Laredo.

Woodbury University perhaps shined brightest in its commitment to serving former members of the armed forces, as the school was ranked 29th regionally in “Best College for Veterans.”

Woodbury also tied for 31st place in the category “Top Performers on Social Mobility” and was ranked No. 32 in “Best Value for School.”

Where the school was dinged was in the overall rankings.

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Woodbury finished with a score of 42 out of a possible 100-point scale. In comparison, UCLA finished with 80 points, USC with 78 points and the University of Redlands and the University of La Verne, which host branches in Burbank, tallied 64 and 46 points, respectively.

Woodbury’s score represents a one-point drop from 2018.

“Unlike most of the colleges and universities that are ranked by U.S. News, Woodbury is a more specialized university with many design programs, making us more comparable to institutions like Otis College of Design, Art Center, Sci-Arc, and Cal Arts, which are not ranked by U.S. News,” Steele-Figueredo said.

He added, “We focus on ensuring that our programs are meeting the needs of our students and producing job-ready graduates who can succeed.”

The publication’s ranking system is made up of several criteria, including graduation rates, retention rates and faculty salaries.

A large factor was a grouping called “outcomes,” which consisted of 35% of the ranking. Outcomes measured several areas, including a social-mobility ranking, six-year graduation rates and overall performance.

Woodbury University posted a six-year graduation rate of 49%.

While the percentage was low to middle of the pack among schools, Woodbury stood out for its low class sizes, as the school boasts a student-teacher ratio of 9-1.

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Those numbers produce a rate of 81% of classes with 20 or fewer students.

“We fully subscribe to this belief — the U.S. News rankings don’t actually do much to help prospective students find the college or university that is a proper fit for them, which depends on a variety different things such as size, student-faculty ratio, cost, location, programs, campus activities, etc.,” Steele-Figueredo said.

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