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Local colleges listed in annual U.S. News rankings

Local colleges listed in annual U.S. News rankings

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The University of Virginia’s College at Wise was ranked one of the top liberal arts institutions in the country at providing social mobility opportunities on U.S. News and World Report’s newly released 2021 Best Colleges Rankings lists.

The rankings, which are released annually, included several higher education institutions from the region, including UVa-Wise, Emory & Henry College, King University and East Tennessee State University. Of the 223 institutions in the liberal arts category, UVa-Wise ranked at 166th overall and sixth for social mobility of students.

In determining social mobility rankings U.S. News and World Report looks at how many students come from homes whose family incomes are less than $50,000 each year. Other factors such as graduation rates are also considered.

Kathy Still, communications director for UVa-Wise, said Wednesday that a little more than 62% of those enrolled at the college are first-generation students. Donna Henry, the college’s chancellor, said it is wonderful to get national recognition for efforts to provide resources to help these students successfully complete a college degree.

“UVa-Wise has earned its reputation of transforming the lives of our graduates economically and socially,” Henry said. “Our graduates earn degrees that lead to successful careers that enrich their lives and the lives of their children.

Emory & Henry College, another Southwest Virginia school in the national liberal arts college category, was ranked 154th overall. The college was also ranked 103rd for social mobility. A news release from the college states that about half of incoming students this fall were eligible for Pell Grants.

Additionally, E&H President John Wells said the college uses merit scholarships, need-based aid and other alternatives to debt to make education more affordable and accessible.

“We’ve always been a college of opportunity and have worked hard to minimize debt for our students in need,” Wells said.

Bristol, Tennessee’s King University was ranked 47th overall out of 134 regional institutions in the South. The school was also ranked third in terms of the value of education it offers and 28th among schools that participate in federal initiatives that help veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

Matt Roberts, provost of King, said this year’s recognition highlights the university’s standards for academic excellence.

“King’s ranking among the top three best value regional universities is a strong testament to the quality academic programming and affordable degree options we are proud to offer to our students,” Roberts said.

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City was ranked 298th and 389th overall in the national universities category and 174th for social mobility out of 398 national institutions.

ETSU did not immediately provide comment Wednesday on its rankings.

lgreiss@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2412 | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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