Colorado State University rises among the nation’s best according to U.S. News

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Jennifer Dimas

U.S. News & World Report has taken notice of Colorado State University’s massive investments in infrastructure and student success, boosting Colorado’s land-grant university three spots in its annual rankings.

CSU is No. 58 among public universities in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings and has climbed nine spots since 2012. CSU has invested $1.4 billion in campus infrastructure in this decade, including new teaching and research facilities such as chemistry research, biology, behavioral sciences and the Suzanne and Walter Scott, Jr. Bioengineering Building. Projects underway include the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute, Michael Smith Natural Resources Building, Richardson Design Center, and the Global Food Innovation Center in honor of Gary and Kay Smith.

While investing in its infrastructure, CSU has maintained its commitment to sustainability. The university is the first in the world to have its sustainability efforts go Platinum — twice. CSU received the highest possible STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the second time in 2017.

Student retention and alumni giving

CSU has also excelled in first-year student retention and alumni giving. CSU continues to buck national trends with significant increases in both alumni fundraising participation and total number of donors. The university, bolstered by a record of 42,115 donors, including a record of more than 18,000 alumni, raised $190 million in private support in the 2016-17 fiscal year, the second year in a row in which CSU has raised over $190 million in private support.

The university’s student retention rate is bolstered by programs such as the Collaborative for Student Achievement and the Academic Advancement Center, which help students achieve academic success. Numerous campus learning communities, which provide students with supportive, academics-focused environments, have been tremendously successful in helping students progress toward graduation.

Since CSU implemented its student success initiatives in 2007, the university has reached historic highs in retention rates among first-year freshmen and transfer students, and historic highs in four-, five- and six-year graduation rates. Additionally, the university has reduced graduation gaps for first-generation, low-income and students from under-represented groups.

“This is a great acknowledgment of how hard our faculty and staff have worked to improve student success and deliver a dynamic learning experience,” Colorado State President Tony Frank said. “While we appreciate the recognition, rankings are only one measure of whether CSU is fulfilling its commitment to the people of Colorado. We’re far more proud to be able to say that our students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and experience to contribute to our world in meaningful ways. That, more than any ranking, is what really counts, and it’s an area in which CSU does particularly well.”

Best Value School

While providing an outstanding educational experience, CSU also offers one of the best economic values in the country. U.S. News lists CSU as one of the top Best Value Schools, based on academic quality and cost of attendance.

A focus on student success

U.S. News highlights schools with outstanding examples of eight programs that education experts, including staff members of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, agree are key. College presidents, chief academic officers, and deans of admissions were invited to nominate institutions with stellar examples of each.

CSU, along with Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale, is among only a handful of universities recognized for Writing in the Disciplines. These colleges make writing a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum. Students are encouraged to produce and refine various forms of writing for a range of audiences in different disciplines.

A-plus school

The magazine included CSU on its list of A-plus schools for students who want to be part of a university with a broad, engaged student body while displaying their individuality and seriousness of purpose.

U.S. News noted in its summary that CSU is considered “one of the leading research universities, and faculty and students work together to explore fields such as atmospheric science, infectious diseases, clean energy technologies and environmental science.”

The full ranking and methodology can be found at

Accolades and honors

CSU is routinely highlighted in national rankings recognizing top universities and programs:

  • Colorado State University is the first in the world to have its sustainability efforts go Platinum — twice. CSU received thehighest possible STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the second time in 2017.
  • Colorado State University is among the top sustainable universities in the U.S., according to Sierramagazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, which has released its 10th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities.
  • The Wall Street Journal ranks Colorado State University as one of the best in the country for improving students’ critical thinking skills. Based on the results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus, CSU ranks 7thin the nation. The exam measures college students’ critical thinking, reasoning, writing, and problem-solving abilities. Colleges are evaluated based on how much they improved students’ abilities in these areas between the students’ freshman and senior years.
  • Money Magazine ranks CSU as one of the Best Colleges for Your Money. The ranking lists collegesthat excel in delivering a superior education at an affordable price. The ranking notes “among its bragging points, Colorado State makes much of what it calls its ‘amazing location’ in Fort Collins, a town near the base of the Rocky Mountains and a former first-place finisher in Money’s list of ‘Best Places to Live.’”
  • CSU was named in Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition by The Princeton Review. The university’s profile highlights “Colorado State University as “an institution that is determined to engage and challenge its students, preparing them for post-graduate life beyond the university.” Despite being a large public research university, CSU does a phenomenal job of fostering a “community feel.” Students guarantee you won’t ‘feel like just a number’ here. Many students tell us that they are drawn to Colorado’s “amazing” science and engineering programs and “outstanding” business school. And they really appreciate CSU’s commitment to sustainability.” CSU also appears in the Princeton Review’s Best Western, Top Green Colleges, and Best College Newspapers lists.
  • CSU is among America’s Top Colleges ranked by Forbes for 2017. The ranking notes Its honors program offers excelling students priority class registration and a separate living space. The Student Recreation Center, or “The Rec,” is highly regarded for its facilities, which include a 55-foot climbing wall and an aquatics center.
  • CSU is featured in the 2017 edition of Fiske Guide to Colleges. Compiled by former New York Timeseducation editor Edward B. Fiske, the Fiske Guide includes the “best and most interesting” colleges in the nation.
  • CSU’s continued commitment to better serve military veterans has been recognized by Military Times as the university placed No. 4 in the nation among public universities in its annual Best for Vets: Colleges 2017
  • The Warner College of Natural Resources is ranked among the top 10 U.S. colleges for studying natural resources and conservation by USA Today.
  • Colorado State University’s Online MBA is ranked among the top programs in the world, according to the Financial Times’ Online MBA Ranking 2017, released in March. CSU’s online MBA program ranks No. 19 in the world and No. 12 in the United States.
  • S. News & World Report ranked CSU’s engineering graduate programs No. 67 in the nation in 2017, up from No. 71 in the previous year.
  • CSU’s veterinary school is one of the top programs in the country, according toU. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Graduate School edition, the latest ranking. CSU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program is No. 3 in the national ranking of veterinary training programs.
  • The professional program in the Department of Occupational Therapy in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences holds the No. 6 spot among similar programs nationwide, based on the most recent S. News & World Report ranking in 2016.