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Courtesy of Marshall University The campus of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, is shown.

HUNTINGTON - For the first time, U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" rankings has recognized Marshall University among the nation's top higher education institutions.

The magazine's 2020 edition, released Monday, placed Marshall among the best 381 schools in the top tier "National Universities" category. Altogether, the magazine ranked about 1,400 institutions.

This marks the first time Marshall has been listed in the "National Universities" category - a direct result of the university's recent elevation to the R2, or Doctoral University: High Research Activity category by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The publication also ranked Marshall's Brad D. Smith Schools of Business among the country's "Best Undergraduate Business Programs" and ranked the university's engineering program at No. 110 in the country.

"We are certainly gratified that U.S. News & World Report has designated Marshall University among the top tier universities in the country," President Jerry Gilbert said in a release. "It is wonderful to see our university recognized nationally as a student-centered, public research institution committed to academic excellence, research, student success, and accessible and affordable higher education."

The "National Universities" category, according to U.S. News & World Report, includes schools that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs, and are committed to conducting groundbreaking research. The leaders in the category include such respected institutions as Princeton, Harvard and Columbia universities.

West Virginia University, No. 228, and the University of Charleston were also ranked among "national universities." UC and Marshall were listed in the range of No. 293-381.

U.S. News & World Report also recognized Marshall with the No. 147 position in the country in the "Social Mobility" category- a measure of how successful a school is at enrolling and graduating students who come from low-income households. Marshall is West Virginia's only research university to be ranked in this category.

Jaime R. Taylor, Marshall's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said he is particularly pleased with the Social Mobility ranking.

"With 75 percent of our students coming from West Virginia, Marshall has always provided native students with affordable access to a college education and graduated them into well-paying jobs," Taylor said in a release. "This ranking helps validate that we are serving our talented students particularly well by helping them elevate their socioeconomic status and, in turn, strengthen their communities."

U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings compare colleges and universities from across the U.S., using widely accepted indicators of quality that include average ACT/SAT scores of admitted students, graduation and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, financial resources and alumni giving rate.

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