Murray State officials and The U.S. News and World Report declared Murray State as the ninth best public school in the southern region.
Jay Morgan, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said officials are doing their best to advertise the ranking because it portrays the University well.
The College of Charleston and The Citadel are two other top-ranking universities in the Southern region.
“We are in good company,” Morgan said.
Washington Monthly listed Murray State 17th in its “Best Bang for Your Buck” article. Every school in the U.S. is eligible for this competition.
The U.S. and World News Report lists Murray State as the highest-ranking public school in Kentucky, but nearby schools University of Kentucky and University of Louisville were not included in the same division.
The U.S News and World Report divides schools using the Carnegie Classification system. According to the website for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, “This system categorizes institutions by their mission, which is derived from the breakdown of types of higher education institutions.”
Institutions of higher education are divided into National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges.
Murray State is classified as a regional university and University of Kentucky and University of Louisville are national universities.
According to The U.S. News and World Report, a regional university offers a full range of undergraduate programs.
National universities provide master and doctoral programs in addition to undergraduate.
Morgan said Murray State plans to add more doctorate programs to the curriculum in the future.
Nursing and education doctorate programs are available, but won’t be the only ones with the addition of a new program in the upcoming year to year and a half.
“In 12 to 18 months there may be a humanities doctorate program,” Morgan said.
Rebecca Shepherd, senior from Greenville, Ky., said Murray State should not be in the same division as University of Kentucky or University of Louisville, because the campuses are so different.
“Being in a big city like Louisville or Lexington affects campus life,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd transferred from Western Kentucky because the atmosphere at Murray State is friendlier, she said.
“Campus is so diverse,” Shepherd said. “All people from all religions are welcome, and that’s what makes Murray State so unique.”
Public regional universities, like Murray State, are then divided into north, south, west and mid-west.
The U.S. World News Report ranks schools based on their undergraduate academic reputation, their retention rate and faculty resources.
Fifty other universities were ranked in the same division and region as Murray State. Western Kentucky ranked close behind Murray State in 12th position. Eastern Kentucky ranked 27th and Northern Kentucky ranked 31st.
For 24 consecutive years, Murray State has been ranked by The U.S. News and World report with ninth being its highest achievement.
Bob Jackson, president of the MSU Foundation, said the rankings are used to recruit students.
“Our ranking and reputation is important to the University,” Jackson said.
Harley Watson Jr., senior from Princeton, Ky., said he knew Murray State was in the top ranking for several years, but it had no impact on his decision to attend classes here.
“I picked Murray State because of its location, flexible tuition fees and small classroom sizes,” Watson said.
Other intangibles make up the college experience that cannot be measured by data, but The U.S. and World News Report strives to provide families with valuable information such as tuition fees and student population for each institution.
“Some people call Murray State a hidden gem,” Morgan said. “I don’t know that we are hidden, we’re just a gem.”
Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Staff writer