U.S.News & World Report ranks New Paltz 7th among top public colleges with master’s degrees

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz is 7th among the best public universities in the North with master’s degree programs, according to U.S.News & World Report’s 2011 America’s Best Colleges guidebook.

The College rose from 8th place last year. In the 2011 edition, which will be published in the magazine’s Aug. 24 issue, New Paltz was also ranked 33rd – up from 43rd in the 2010 list – among public and private universities in the North with master’s degree programs.

The annual rankings, in which U.S. News categorizes schools based on criteria created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, provide a resource for parents and students contemplating entering the competitive world of higher education.

The guide looks at how schools stack up based on 15 widely accepted indicators of excellence including quality of the incoming class, student/faculty ratio, retention rates and graduation rates.

This year New Paltz made its best showing ever in several categories since it began appearing in the rankings, including the percentage of full-time faculty (74), freshman retention rate (86), six-year graduation rate (66, up from 52 in 2005), percentage of freshmen in the top 25% of their high school class (70) and SAT/ACT scores of 1040-1220.

L. David Eaton, vice president of enrollment management at New Paltz, said, “We are happy to see the upward trend in our rankings each year, consistent with our mission to provide rigorous academics in a highly selective admission environment. Students embrace our culture where talented and independent-minded people foster openness, diversity, intellectual challenge and creativity. Our depth of programs and an engaging and robust social environment allow our students to explore and flourish.”

In addition to being named one of the 25 “hottest” schools in the nation in the 2008 “How to Get into College” Guide published by Kaplan and Newsweek, the College’s popularity is reflected in the fact that New Paltz has led all SUNY colleges in total number of applications received for the last 20 years.

With an acceptance rate of 34 percent for first-year students New Paltz remains one of the most selective universities in the Northeast.

“We acknowledge that these rankings are one measure of a complex process that requires thoughtful review and research. We encourage prospective students and their families to visit New Paltz and other campuses to determine for themselves which college or university may be the best fit. Rankings cannot capture the true essence of campus life, culture, facilities and other intangible markers that assist in the decision making process,” Eaton said.