BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s status as both a leader and an innovator in higher education has been highlighted in recent college rankings and recognitions, with the university named among the ‘best’ and ‘top’ schools in the nation — and the Southeast — for 2023–24.
The national publications recognized App State for its academics, innovation, value, benefits for student veterans, programs to enhance the first-year experience and other aspects, naming the university to the following lists for 2023 and 2024:
- “Best Colleges” rankings for 2024 — U.S. News & World Report.
- “The Best 389 Colleges” and “Best Colleges: Region by Region” rankings for 2024 — The Princeton Review.
- “America’s Top Colleges” rankings for 2023 — Forbes magazine.
- “Best Colleges in America,” ranked by value, for 2023 — Money.com.
- “Best Colleges in the U.S.” for 2024 — The Wall Street Journal.
- “Best Bang for the Buck” college rankings for 2023 — Washington Monthly magazine.
“These accolades, and others, underscore App State’s 124-year legacy as a leader and innovator in higher education,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “They are a testament to the value of an App State education and to the efforts of the faculty and staff who work each day to enhance the quality of the student experience.”
Read on to learn more about App State’s 2023–24 accolades.
A ‘Best College’ for 2024 — U.S. News & World Report
App State earned several top-five positions in U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 “Best Colleges” rankings for regional universities in the South, released Sept. 18. Schools recognized in the publication’s Regional Universities rankings category offer a broad range of undergraduate programs and master’s programs but few doctoral programs.
Notable U.S. News rankings for App State included:
- No. 1 in Most Innovative Schools in the South, an honor App State has received for four years running. Schools recognized in this category were identified by top college officials for making innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.
- No. 2 in Top Public Schools in the South, with App State breaking its four-year streak of third place in this category.
- No. 2 in Best Undergraduate Teaching Programs among Southern universities, which App State has earned for the seventh year in a row.
- No. 2 in Best Colleges for Veterans among Southern universities — a distinction App State has held for three consecutive years.
- No. 3 in Best Regional Universities of the South, advancing three positions over last year’s ranking.
- No. 28 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, which recognizes schools that are successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded the Pell Grant. App State advanced 33 positions over its 2022–23 ranking in this category.
- No. 31 in Best Value Universities in the South, a three-position advancement over last year’s ranking.
Additionally, App State took the No. 39 ranking among nationwide colleges and universities named in the First-Year Experiences category, which recognizes schools for the experiences they provide first-year students, such as first-year seminar programs.
In January, U.S. News ranked App State Online programs among the nation’s best for 2023, naming the university in its “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs,” “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs,” “Best Online MBA Programs” and “Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs” lists — all part of U.S. News’ 2023 “Best Online Programs” rankings.
Since the U.S. News’ “Best Colleges” rankings were first published annually, beginning in 1987, App State has consistently placed among the top 15 public and private Southern universities.
A ‘Best’ in the U.S., Southeast for 2024 — The Princeton Review
App State has been recognized as one of “The Best 389 Colleges” in the U.S. by The Princeton Review for 2024. Additionally, the publication named the university among 109 best schools in the South for 2024 — part of its “Best Colleges: Region by Region” website feature. The institutions included in both lists, released Aug. 15, were unranked.
In its online profile of App State, The Princeton Review wrote that Mountaineer students described App State as an “exceedingly affordable” school with “a strong sense of community” and faculty who are “all highly educated experts in their respective fields.”
The profile also highlighted App State’s class sizes, which “allow a more personal learning experience” according to the students surveyed, as well as the university’s Honors College, textbook rental program — which saved students more than $5 million in 2022–23, numerous clubs and organizations, students’ passion for sustainability and wide variety of Outdoor Programs. The university’s student-to-faculty ratio for fall 2023 is 16:1.
The “The Best 389 Colleges” list is generated based on the student experience at each of the recognized institutions — as reported by students in The Princeton Review’s survey for the project. Responses were collected from 165,000 students, who were asked to answer questions on the topics of Academics and Administration, Quality of Life, Politics, Campus Life, Town Life, Extracurriculars and Social Scene.
App State was also honored as one of 455 national and international colleges and universities named in The Princeton Review’s 2023 “Guide to Green Colleges,” released in October 2022. Schools included in the guide were recognized for having “superb sustainability practices, a strong foundation in sustainability education and a healthy quality of life for students on campus,” according to the publication. The schools were unranked.
Among ‘America’s Top Colleges’ for 2023 — Forbes magazine
App State ranks among 500 public and private schools recognized in Forbes magazine’s 2023 “America’s Top Colleges” rankings list, released Aug. 29. The university is the seventh highest among public and private North Carolina schools on the list and third among public schools in the state. The university was the only rural North Carolina institution recognized on Forbes’ list.
According to Forbes, its annual college rankings spotlight schools “that check all the boxes: impressive graduation rates, high graduate salaries and great outcomes for low-income students.”
Forbes used seven metrics to determine its rankings: alumni salaries; student loan debt; return on investment; graduation rates; retention rates; academic success; and the number of graduates produced by the schools who are named to designated lists of successful leaders in public service, business, the arts and athletics.
A ‘Best College’ for value in 2023 — Money.com
App State is among 736 four-year public and private colleges and universities across the U.S. named in Money.com’s “Best Colleges in America” list for 2023, which was released in June and recognizes schools that combine quality and affordability.
In Money’s new rating system for 2023, App State received a rating of four out of five stars and was among 278 schools — and seven University of North Carolina System schools — to receive a four-star rating. Colleges and universities named to the list were assigned ratings ranging from 2.5 to 5 stars.
Money’s analysis of the “Best Colleges” considered 26 data points grouped into three categories — quality, affordability and student outcomes. Among the data points were graduation rates, cost of attendance and alumni salaries.
A ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ in 2023 — Washington Monthly
Washington Monthly ranked App State No. 33 out of 288 public and private colleges and universities in the South, recognizing the university as offering students the “Best Bang for the Buck” in 2023.
The online rankings list, published on Aug. 27, recognizes schools “that provide a quality education at an affordable price for students with modest economic means,” wrote Washington Monthly.
Among the list’s public higher education institutions, App State earned the No. 15 spot among the 97 public schools named to the list.
Each of the schools included in Washington Monthly’s rankings list received a social mobility score, which was calculated based on factors that included schools’ percentage of students awarded federal Pell Grants, eight-year graduation rates and net price of attendance.
Among nation’s ‘Best Colleges’ for 2024 — The Wall Street Journal
App State is one of the best 400 colleges and universities in the nation for 2024, according to The Wall Street Journal, which recognized the university in its “2024 Best Colleges in America” rankings list released Sept. 6.
Developed and executed in collaboration with WSJ research partners College Pulse and Statista, the list was determined using federal data and students’ survey responses related to the following:
- Student outcomes, including graduation rates and graduate salaries.
- The schools’ learning environments, including the quality and frequency of both learning and career preparation opportunities and students’ satisfaction with the school’s learning facilities.
- The diversity of the schools’ student body and faculty.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.