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Longwood is rising in national prominence, with increased application numbers and graduation rates among the factors helping to fuel a jump in two important new national rankings.

In the U.S. News & World Report rankings out Tuesday, Longwood improved to the ninth-best public university in the magazine’s Southern regional universities category and, for the first time, placed in the top 30 overall in that category.

In just three years, Longwood has climbed six spots in those overall rankings—an unusual feat considering institutions typically move no more than one spot in either direction in a given year. Among public regional institutions, Longwood improved one slot from last year, and has jumped from No. 12 to No. 9 since 2014.

More students want to come to Longwood, and we are helping them succeed once they arrive on campus.

Dr. Jennifer Green, associate vice president for enrollment management

“It’s hard to make big leaps in these rankings because of the methodology used by U.S. News & World Report,” said Dr. Jennifer Green, associate vice president for enrollment management. “An uptick in one category of data or another doesn’t usually have a noticeable overall effect. What that means is Longwood’s climb has been fueled by a campuswide effort to make positive strides. We’ve seen that in our increased graduation and retention rates and in the record number of applications we received for the class entering this fall. More students want to come to Longwood, and we are helping them succeed once they arrive on campus.”

The U.S. News rankings follow the news that Longwood improved a remarkable 18 places from the previous year in Washington Monthly’s annual “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings, published in late August. Longwood’s tuition increases over the last four years have been by a wide margin the lowest of any four-year public university in Virginia.

More and more people are taking note of the great strides Longwood is making, and also of the rich campus culture, unique mission and the special camaraderie that exist here.

President W. Taylor Reveley IV

“More and more people are taking note of the great strides Longwood is making, and also of the rich campus culture, unique mission and the special camaraderie that exist here,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “No rankings can ever reflect the true spirit of a university, but these are one reflection of an institution with real momentum.”

Among the factors behind Longwood’s score in the rankings were a 25 percent jump in applications over three years, which resulted in one of the largest incoming classes in the university’s history this fall—the year after Longwood hosted the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate.

The rankings also take into account factors such as alumni giving percentage, student retention and graduation rates, and a survey of academic reputation around the country.

This year Longwood’s campus will see the completion of several new buildings on central campus, including a university center. Longwood is also pushing forward with an innovative new academic curriculum focused on citizen leadership that will be fully implemented next fall with the arrival of the incoming class of 2022.

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