Four years, still on top

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

Story by Katlyn Mackie, Staff writer

Washington Monthly’s 2017 college rankings named Murray State the top-ranked public university in Kentucky within the southern schools category of “Best Bang for the Buck,” for the fourth consecutive year.

The university ranked 28th among nearly 200 institutions.

“These rankings are consistently achieved as a result of the accomplishments of our students, and the opportunities afforded to them by our tremendous faculty and staff,” President Bob Davies wrote in a press release.

Davies said this recognition continues to affirm Murray State’s commitment and ability to provide students with an outstanding and affordable education that prepares them for lifelong success.

Patty Parrish, a communications lecturer, said the faculty’s dedication to the students and their hard work helps set Murray State apart.

“We try to do the most with what we’ve got,” Parrish said. “We are here because of the students and we try to do the best we can.”

Murray State’s master’s degree program was also a part of Washington Monthly’s rankings and was 148th among more than 600 universities – the top-ranked public university in Kentucky, and the second highest Kentucky institution in this category.

Pat McCutchen, a senior lecturer in sociology, said Murray State being located in a small town provides a safer environment and adds to the uniqueness of the university.

McCutchen also said Murray State’s smaller class sizes, taught by professors with PhDs, provides a better quality education and sets it apart from other colleges who normally have teacher’s assistants teaching small classes.

“We do try to focus on providing an affordable education, I think that is a goal of Murray State,” McCutchen said. “I always consider the cost of materials for my students and I know I’m not the only professor that does.”

Washington Monthly ranks the institutions in three categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and doctorates) and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

The methodology for the “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings include measures such as loan repayment rank, graduation rate, net price of attendance and percentage of Pell recipients and first-generation students.

According to a press release, Murray State’s most recent reports state the university provides more than $126 million in financial aid yearly and awards an average of $5,573 per student in scholarships and waivers.

Murray State was also recognized by Forbes magazine, naming it one of America’s Top Colleges for the tenth consecutive year.