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Forbes ranks UW-Eau Claire among top schools in the country

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire is ranked among the top schools in Forbes’ annual America’s Top Colleges list, which the publication says “showcases the finest in American education.” The rankings spotlight “schools that offer an excellent education at a great price, graduate high-earners and propel students to become successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders in their fields.”

Forbes has ranked the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire among the top universities in the United States.

UW-Eau Claire is ranked third in Wisconsin among all colleges and universities — public and private — on Forbes’ 2022 America’s Top Colleges list, behind only UW-Madison and Marquette University.

UW-Eau Claire is the top-ranked regional public university in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Among public universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota, only UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are ranked higher than UW-Eau Claire.

In Forbes’ annual America’s Top Colleges list, UW-Eau Claire is ranked No. 253 nationally among all colleges and universities. Among public universities, UW-Eau Claire is ranked No. 119, and it’s ranked No. 43 among all public or private universities in the Midwest.

On its website, Forbes says the 500 colleges and universities it includes on its America’s Top Colleges list “showcase the finest in American education.” Its rankings spotlight “schools that offer an excellent education at a great price, graduate high-earners and propel students to become successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders in their fields,” Forbes states.

It’s always satisfying to see UW-Eau Claire recognized in the many college rankings shared each year, but the Forbes list is especially meaningful because it considers how the university meets the needs of low- and moderate-income students, and how well all students do after graduation, Chancellor James Schmidt says.

“These rankings consider who it is that we are educating, and how a UW-Eau Claire degree helps to shape their future careers and lives,” Schmidt says. “We are high on the Forbes list because we provide Blugolds with a quality education — an education that leads to well-paying jobs after college — at a price that doesn’t leave our graduates with huge amounts of debt.”

To choose its top schools, Forbes considers, among other things, average grant aid, average student debt and graduates’ median 10-year salary. Several factors help Forbes determine those numbers, including things like price-to-earnings, the number of years it took students to pay their college costs, and the number of low-income and Pell students a school enrolls.

Through its analysis, Forbes found UW-Eau Claire’s average grant aid as $3,873, its average student debt as $7,231 and its graduates’ median 10-year salary as $100,900.

All Blugolds have multiple opportunities to be part of high-impact programs and experiences that help them gain the kinds of knowledge, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and confidence that set them apart when they begin their careers, Schmidt says.

“Providing all our students with these life-changing experiences, including undergraduate research, studying abroad, cultural immersions and internships, helps to close the opportunity and equity gap for low-income, first-generation college students at UW-Eau Claire,” Schmidt says.

When creating its top colleges list, Forbes also considers the number of graduates who win competitive scholarships such as the Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater and Rhodes, and the average number of alumni who’ve earned a Ph.D. over the last three years.

UW-Eau Claire students are regularly awarded prestigious scholarships, with multiple Blugolds being selected every year for some of them, including Fulbrights, Schmidt says. Many Blugolds also go on to earn doctorates or other advanced degrees, such as medical or law degrees, he says.

“Our faculty and staff work hard, think creatively and always put students first,” Schmidt says. “They create the extraordinary opportunities that allow our students to thrive during and after college, and earn UW-Eau Claire places on Forbes and other college rankings.”