The University of Lynchburg is once again noted among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges. Lynchburg’s 2022 rankings include a 21st spot among regional universities in the South — up one from last year — and a 23rd place for Best Value in that category. Among Best Colleges for Veterans, Lynchburg ranked No. 35 and on the Top Performers on Social Mobility list, the University ranked 62nd. Lynchburg also was included on a new list that ranks the best Undergraduate Nursing Programs in the country.
“The University of Lynchburg is great at meeting students where they are and supporting them to be the best they can be, no matter their circumstances,” said Michael Jones, vice president of communications, marketing, and enrollment.
According to U.S. News, 37% of Lynchburg’s entering class received Pell grants in Fall 2014, with 47% of those Pell Grant recipients graduating within six years. For comparison, Lynchburg’s overall six-year graduation rate was 57%. Both Pell Grant statistics combined kept Lynchburg on the Top Performers on Social Mobility list.
In addition to helping students figure out how to pay for college, Lynchburg’s financial aid office works hard to keep loan amounts reasonable and to prepare students to understand and manage their debt responsibly. The University prides itself on awarding scholarships and financial aid to 100% of students.
And that’s where Lynchburg’s value proposition comes in. Because of merit and need-based aid, the average student pays only about $24,000 in tuition, room, and board for a private education with small classes, easy access to professors, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to 1. It’s even more affordable for in-state students due to the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant, and about half the cost — or much less, depending on scholarships and financial aid — for students who live near campus or the surrounding region.
“Lynchburg truly offers a private education at a public price,” Jones said. “Our average cost compares to most public institutions in the state. And for those who live locally and receive our competitive awards, we are as affordable as a community college.”
It’s that combination of academic quality and cost — after accounting for total expenses and financial aid — that landed Lynchburg on U.S. News’ Best Value list once again.
The publication’s brand-new ranking of Undergraduate Nursing Programs — which lists Lynchburg at No. 432 out of 694 nationally — is based on peer surveys of deans and senior faculty members in accredited nursing programs across the country.
“Our School of Nursing is truly innovative and interactive through the use of technology in our curriculum,” said Dr. Kathy Johnson ’86, director of Lynchburg’s nursing program and associate dean of the School of Nursing. “Student learning is supported by faculty who have the students’ interest and their success in mind, and student accomplishments are the results of dedicated faculty who are invested in the students. They share a passion that provides our students with the education needed to be ready for practice.”
For the rest of its 2022 rankings, U.S. News examined 1,466 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality. Metrics used included the schools’ student-to-faculty ratio and the average federal loan debt of graduates. According to U.S. News, “only thoroughly vetted academic data from our surveys and reliable third-party sources are used to calculate each ranking factor.”
The “ripple effects of the pandemic” prompted adjustments to this year’s rankings. For the first time last year, U.S. News included so-called “test-blind schools” — those that don’t require the SAT or ACT for admissions decisions. Like many other colleges, the University of Lynchburg changed its testing policies and went test-optional last year, a change largely brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions it caused for prospective students.
As in previous years, the publication also lists information directly reported by schools on their application requirements, tuition and financial aid policies, student body demographics, and campus life. Each college’s individual profile also features post-graduate earnings data by undergraduate focus and user ratings and reviews submitted by alumni. Visit U.S. News’ website for more information on their methodology.
While all that data is important, numbers are just part of the story. Along with research and interviews, intuition is a valid aspect when choosing a college, says U.S. News reporter Josh Moody.
At Lynchburg, as at other institutions, there’s that often-cited feeling students get when visiting campus for the first time. That first impression matters because it’s about the whole package. And the life-changing educational opportunities the University prides itself on happen everywhere, says President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar.
“We provide an outstanding educational experience in and out of the classroom so that our students may meet their maximum potential,” Morrison-Shetlar said. Academic excellence, she added, is paired with a focus on leadership development, service to the community, and a deep commitment to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“We ensure that all of our students are not just engaged, but also respected and valued for what they contribute to our campus community,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Students grow under the mentorship and care of our exceptional faculty and staff, and develop as positive contributors to society. At the University of Lynchburg, our students turn their passion into purpose.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Allison Jablonski noted that while Lynchburg’s holistic approach to learning is deeply rooted in its liberal arts tradition, it’s also vital in today’s rapidly changing world.
“A Lynchburg education empowers our students to deal with complexity, diversity, and change — all of which are necessary for the 21st-century workplace and life,” Jablonski said.
“Our students’ experiences help them develop a sense of civic responsibility, as well as strong intellectual and practical skills — and the capacity to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”
Take a look at Lynchburg’s full U.S. News profile and data.