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UW-Eau Claire ranks high in U.S. News spending-versus-quality analysis

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is one of the most efficient Midwest regional universities, according to an analysis by U.S. News & World Report that compared spending and educational quality.

For the spending efficiency analysis, U.S. News looked at the public and private colleges that scored the highest in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings (a measure of overall undergraduate academic educational quality) but that spent relatively less to achieve that quality. The 2015 edition of "America's Best Colleges" ranks UW-Eau Claire No. 6 among the top regional public universities in the Midwest and 33rd among all private and public institutions in the Midwest.

"At UW-Eau Claire, we strive to ensure that every dollar entrusted to us from students, parents, the state of Wisconsin and our benefactors goes to support our core mission of excellence for our students," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt.

Central to that mission is aiming to provide high-impact practices — things like undergraduate research, study abroad, internships and cultural immersion experiences — for every student, Schmidt said, adding that UW-Eau Claire attracts top faculty and staff who want to be a part of a culture that is focused on the success of students.

"We are proud of this rating," Schmidt said. "It reinforces that we are a high-value university where students have the kinds of high-impact experiences and faculty interaction often associated with higher priced private colleges." 

According to a U.S. News blog post about the spending efficiency analysis, a school's financial resources indicator is calculated based how much a school spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. The financial resources indicator has a 10 percent weight in the Best Colleges ranking methodology.

In turn, a school's operating efficiency was determined by dividing its 2013 fiscal year financial resources per student by its overall score in the U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges rankings.

"The premise of the analysis is that the less a school spent relative to its position in the overall rankings, the more efficient it was in its ability to produce a top-quality education," the blog post said.

Only schools that were numerically ranked in the top half of their ranking category in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings were included in this analysis.

For the 20th consecutive year, U.S. News &World Report magazine in September 2014 named UW-Eau Claire among the best public regional universities in the Midwest. Every year since 1995, U.S. News has ranked UW-Eau Claire among the top public institutions in the Midwest and in the top third of public and private Midwestern regional universities.

This year, U.S. News also ranked UW-Eau Claire No. 5 on its list of regional universities whose class of 2013 graduated with the lightest debt loads. UW-Eau Claire is the only Wisconsin school — public or private — on the list.