FORT SMITH -- The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith ranked in multiple categories among regional colleges in the southern region in U.S. News & World Report's 2024 Best Colleges list.
The list, released Sept. 18, placed UAFS at number 7 overall in its list of the region's top public schools, according to a news post from that same day on the university's website. The ranking distinguished UAFS as Arkansas' top-ranked public regional college.
The university shares its number 7 spot with both the Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Ky., and the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, according to the list.
U.S. News also put UAFS at number 34 in its category of best regional colleges in the southern region. The digital media company gave that same distinction to Kentucky State University and the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo as well, alongside Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky., and Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga.
"The 2024 rankings emphasize outcome measures such as the graduation rates of different student populations, institutional costs and academic reputation, a change from years past according to U.S. News," the UAFS website states.
In addition, U.S. News named UAFS as number 48 in its list of top performers on social mobility, ranking fourth in Arkansas, according to the university's website.
"U.S. News also lists the university's nursing, business and computer science programs as national achievers," the website states.
UAFS Chancellor Terisa Riley said Monday she is "immensely proud" of the university's performance in the Best Colleges list.
"These rankings are a testament to our exceptional academic quality and the dedicated faculty and staff who work tirelessly to cultivate knowledge and experience through learning," Riley said. "It is also incredibly rewarding to see UAFS earn praise for social mobility in these national rankings."
"We are living our mission every day, and these rankings directly reflect our commitment to empower all students to seek new opportunities, regardless of their economic background."
Shadow Robinson, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UAFS, commented more than half of the university's students are the first in their family to attend college.
"Our faculty are exceptionally well prepared and dedicated to meeting the needs of these students while delivering unmatched education," Robinson said. "They are true experts in their fields, and innovators in their industries, who pride themselves on teaching the next generation of leaders."
Robinson said UAFS lives out its mission to empower both the social mobility of its students and the economic growth of the River Valley by ensuring it delivers these educational opportunities at an "excellent value" to its students.
Carl Geffken, Fort Smith city administrator, similarly said UAFS' success is a win for both the university and the city.
"These recognitions bring admiration to our city, attract students from all over the country, and bolster our local economy," Geffken said. "They also showcase the potential of Fort Smith as a hub for higher education and innovation. I would like to commend Dr. Terisa Riley, faculty, staff, students, and the entire UAFS community for their relentless pursuit of excellence."
U.S. News defines the southern region of the United States on its website as including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico.