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August 19, 2005 - Grand Rapids, Mich. (Friday, August 19, 2005) — Aquinas College has again improved its standing among "Top Tier Universities-Master's" in the Midwest, according to the 2006 edition of the U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) rankings released today. Each year, USN&WR issues an annual report summarizing information gleaned from surveys of the nation's higher institutions.

In the 2006 edition, USN&WR ranks Aquinas second among "Best Value" universities/colleges offering master's programs in the Midwest. Aquinas also moved up in the rankings among the "Top Tier Universities-Master's" in the Midwest. It was ranked 46th among 72 institutions listed for its category, an increase of two positions from its 48th place ranking for 2005

"We're pleased to have another external affirmation of the quality of an Aquinas College education," noted Harry J. Knopke, Ph.D., president of Aquinas College. "It is especially gratifying to be recognized as one of the top value colleges in the Midwest as we continue our focus to make Aquinas accessible and affordable to all qualified students."

The "Best Value" survey lists only the top fifteen schools for each region of the country. Aquinas' second-place in this category this year compares to a seventh place ranking last year and 12th for the 2004 edition. The USN&WR formula used to determine which schools offer the "Best Value" relates to academic quality using the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.

According to USN&WR, the higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in the top half of their categories are included, on the premise that the most significant values are among colleges that are above average academically.

USN&WR measured 572 higher education institutions across the United States using more than a dozen key measurements to develop the top 72 schools for each regional list for the "Top Tier Universities -Master's." Aquinas' 46th place within the Midwest region is the highest position ever for this category.

Each year, the USN&WR rankings are compiled based on exhaustive survey of colleges and universities across the nation. Using a multitude of criteria – including student retention rate, graduation rate, student/faculty ratios, and average alumni giving – USN&WR publishes detailed rankings of the colleges each fall. The list is designed as a guide to provide parents and students with an objective source of information to help in the college decision-making process.

While the U.S. News & World Reports' Annual College Survey provides a wealth of information about institutions of higher learning, even the magazine's editors urge parent and students to use the list as a starting point. As cited in USA Today, USN&WR Executive Editor Brian Kelly said, "Dig into the data, read the numbers, then use that as a launching point to start to learn about the nature of the school, the personality." Students are encouraged to schedule campus visits and to meet with school counselors or faculty.