August 22, 2008


Dan Carter, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — For the ninth consecutive year, Montana State University Billings has been ranked as one of the nation’s “Best Colleges” by U.S. News and World Report, for undergraduate through master’s level academics, in the latest edition of “America’s Best Colleges 2008.”


The current ranking, released Friday, is similar to where the university placed last year.


MSU Billings was recognized as one of the top private and public colleges or universities in its category: “Best Universities-Master’s for the West region third tier of the United States” for institutions that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs,” according to the newest issue of the magazine.


According to the methodology used by U.S. News & World Report, rankings are based on several key measures of quality. Peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student/faculty ratios and average alumni giving all used to rank colleges.


The magazine’s guidelines and rankings are used to help students and parents in their college-selection process. All facets of the college experience are weighed, such as the overall feel of the university, student activities, cost, availability of financial aid and sports. But academics lead the way.


Located in Montana’s largest city, MSU Billings is a university of about 4,900 students and features more than 100 academic options in allied health, the arts and sciences, education, business and technology. The student/faculty ratio is 21:1, which means smaller classes for improved student-faculty engagement.


MSU Billings received its rankings in the categories of:

  • A peer assessment score: Opinions of MSU Billings, as ranked by presidents, academic vice presidents and deans of admissions at colleges and universities throughout the country, gave MSU Billings a stellar rating, especially in the area of faculty dedication to teaching.
  • The high percent of faculty who teach full time and who have doctoral degrees: Research shows that the more contact satisfied students have with their professors, the more the students will learn and the more likely it is they will graduate, the publishers say.  Seventy-nine percent of the faculty at MSU Billings teach full time.
  • An average faculty/student ratio of only 20-1 or less: About 47 percent of the classes at MSU Billings have classes with fewer than 20 students. Only 4 percent of the classes at MSUB have 50 or more students, according to the data.
  • The students who enter MSU Billings with high ACT/SAT scores, and the percentage of students who graduate from high school in the top 25% of their graduating class;
  • The average freshman retention rate and the average graduation rate; and,
  • Alumni giving: The percentage of alumni who give to their school is an indirect measure of satisfaction, the publication’s ranking criteria notes. 

For more information about MSU Billings and its programs, go to More information on different aspects of the university, see the “About the University” link.