Elkins – Davis & Elkins College has earned several prominent positions in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking. D&E achieved a score of 52 out of 100 possible points and is the only college in West Virginia to rank in the top 50 within its category.
D&E reached the rank by coming in at No. 24 in the Best Value Schools category and tying for No. 76 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and No. 43 overall in Regional Colleges South.
“U.S. News and World Report is simply confirming what students, faculty, and staff already know,” said Davis & Elkins College President Chris A. Wood. “Davis & Elkins College is a sparkling gem among the West Virginia mountains that provides a high quality educational experience at a competitive price. Singled out as West Virginia’s top regional college and No. 43 in the southern United States affirms the transformational experience awaiting prospective students that make the wise decision to become a D&E Senator.”
Now in its 36th year, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings offer resources to provide a deeper insight for students and their parents in deciding which college or university may best fit their needs. The latest edition assesses 1,452 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality.
The calculation used to determine Best Value Schools takes into account a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2019-2020 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. At D&E, 79% of full-time undergraduates receive some form of need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $11,115. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.
Performance on Social Mobility measures how successful a college is in enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The vast majority of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000. In the 2019-2020 academic year, 49.9 % of D&E students received Pell Grants.
Among other factors is faculty resources, which includes data on class size and student-faculty ratio. D&E alumna Mary Jane “MJ” Braham ’17 says the small class size and personal attention helped her succeed as a student and paved the way for admission to pharmacy school.
“The smaller classes at D&E allowed me to develop professional and personal relationships with the faculty and staff,” said Braham, now a fourth-year pharmacy student at West Virginia University. “While applying to pharmacy school, my mentor, Dr. Jennifer Riggleman, devoted countless hours to helping me prepare my application. I excelled as a graduate student due to the foundation formed regarding study habits, time management skills and leadership skills while at D&E.”
Additional factors considered in the ranking include average alumni giving rate, graduate indebtedness, student selectivity and undergraduate academic reputation.
Alumnus and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mark Barber ’75 has a wide view of the scope of D&E’s academic reputation and vision for its future.
“As chair of the Board of Trustees and a proud alum, I am delighted that Davis & Elkins College is moving up in this prestigious ranking,” Barber said. “With the many challenges in higher education today, including the COVID pandemic, our entire college community remains committed to providing an affordable high-quality liberal arts education, strengthening our student value proposition and operating with excellence in everything we do. Nestled in a scenic and welcoming West Virginia community, D&E is uniquely positioned to provide a more personalized learning experience as we prepare each student for success. Looking ahead, meaningful upgrades to college facilities, now underway, will enhance the D&E learning and living environment for years to come.”