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Local universities rank in U.S. News Best Colleges

9/10/2013, 12:46 p.m.
U.S. News and World Report has named Virginia Commonwealth University a 2014 “Up and Comer” among national universities in its ...

— U.S. News and World Report has named Virginia Commonwealth University a 2014 “Up and Comer” among national universities in its annual Best Colleges rankings. The guide also ranked University of Richmond No. 25 on its list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.

VCU ranked 14th among national universities, tying with Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Tulane University and six others. Richmond tied with The College of the Holy Cross, Oberlin, Scripps and the Air Force Academy.

College administrators, including presidents, provosts and admissions deans who were surveyed in the spring of 2013 for the 2014 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings also were asked to nominate institutions that they believe have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus or facilities.

"Being listed among America's rising national universities is an honor that reflects our commitment to brightening VCU's star on the national map," said VCU President Michael Rao. "Our mission as a new type of research university is to transform the human experience through education, innovation, service and a focus on human health, and our efforts have begun to attract national attention in countless ways.

Within the category, the annual guidebook ranks Richmond tied for No. 2 on its list of “Up and Comers” — schools that recently have made the “most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.” Also, Richmond is No.14 among “Great Schools at Great Prices” — those offering the best balance of academic quality and need-based financial aid.

Richmond is among only 1 percent of colleges and universities offering need-blind admission — it does not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when making admission decisions — and pledging to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of admitted students.

“It is gratifying that the exceptional and innovative undergraduate education that Richmond provides is recognized across the board,” said Nanci Tessier, Richmond's vice president for enrollment management.

VCU is in the third year of its ambitious strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, which has at its core a focus on student success at all levels, unparalleled innovation through research, a university-wide commitment to human health and engagement and empowerment in the communities VCU serves.