Valparaiso University’s outstanding educational value and quality academic programs earned strong recognition once again from U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings. In the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, Valpo tied for fourth. In the Best Value category, Valpo ranked second among regional universities in the Midwest. The University’s College of Engineering tied for 17th place nationally among undergraduate engineering schools. Valparaiso University has been identified as one of the nation’s best regional universities in the Midwest for 24 years.

Despite recent reports of decreasing higher education enrollment nationwide, Valparaiso University has a great story to tell. After laying the foundation with its Strategic Plan, a refined recruitment strategy, and an increased emphasis on diversity, the University has recruited its largest student body since 1983. This marks the largest international presence in the school’s history, and Valpo is well on its way toward becoming the world’s most prestigious international Lutheran university.

Increasing enrollment has been a priority since University President Mark Heckler assumed his role a little more than four years ago. New facilities such as the $13 million Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center, the $19 million Arts and Sciences Building and the up-and-coming Duesenberg Welcome Center provide the University with the resources necessary to attract and accommodate a larger student body.

“We are very pleased that U.S. News & World Report continues to recognize the comprehensive and highly personalized educational experience Valparaiso University offers our students,” Heckler said. “Students want to learn in an environment of academic rigor with the freedom to inquire without constraint. They want a place where they can come together and learn how to navigate difference and disagreement with care, compassion, and mutual respect. Today, we have new students coming to Valparaiso University from 33 states and 16 countries.”

Additional enrollment facts and figures:
* The 994 freshmen and transfer students on campus at Valparaiso represents the school’s largest new undergraduate enrollment in 31 years.

* International students comprise 9.7 percent of the student population; this year’s enrollment is the highest international student enrollment in Valparaiso’s history.

* With a population totaling 17.1 percent of the student body, the number of American minority students has reached its highest level in the school’s history.

* College of Nursing enrollment is the highest in the University’s history, while the College of Engineering headcount is at its highest level in 10 years.

* New leadership in enrollment management with the appointment of Michael Joseph as vice president in late 2011.

* A concerted effort toward recruiting students from Indiana led to a freshman class featuring the most students from the state in 21 years.

Notable U.S. News rankings:
* Valparaiso University tied for fourth in the ranking of Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, a ranking that includes comprehensive institutions. Valparaiso University tied with Xavier University. These rankings take into account academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate, and alumni support. Valparaiso University was also tied for fourth in this category a year ago.

* Valparaiso University was again placed on the list of A+ Schools for B Students, which measures institutions that provide opportunities for students of different academic achievement levels to thrive.

* Valparaiso University’s College of Engineering finished tied for 17th place nationally among undergraduate engineering schools, an improvement of 10 places from the year before.

The Valparaiso University educational experience focuses on both professional schools such as the nursing, engineering, and business colleges, and a respected broad-based liberal arts curriculum. Valparaiso University is also committed to providing the best value possible, with more than 90 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid, and more than $70 million in financial assistance awarded annually to undergraduates.

Valparaiso University has ranked in the top five of the quality rankings every year since 1990.

Adding to the well-rounded student experience at Valpo, five athletics teams had tremendous success this past year. The softball and baseball teams each advanced to the NCAA Tournament, winning Horizon League regular-season and tournament titles. Men’s soccer and men’s basketball each won Horizon League regular-season championships. And, the women’s bowling team advanced to the NCAA National Championship.

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