Forty-two members of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) made it into U.S. News & World Report magazine's annual list of "America's Best Colleges."
Colleges and universities were grouped into four categories – National Universities, Master's Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Baccalaureate Colleges. The Master's and Baccalaureate rankings were further divided into geographical regions. The magazine also ranked the nation's top business and engineering programs.
In total, 1,900 colleges and universities were ranked in this year's report.
Among the Baptist schools ranked as the top institutions in the National Universities category are Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.
Most of the Baptist schools were ranked in the Baccalaureate-South division – a category for schools in the country's southern region offering primarily undergraduate liberal-arts programs with less than 50 percent of the students receiving degrees in traditional liberal-arts disciplines.
Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., was ranked no. 1 in the Baccalaureate Colleges in the South.
In addition, the South Baccalaureate Colleges list also included: Campbellsville University, Shorter College, University of the Cumberlands, Blue Mountain College, Mars Hill College, Anderson University, Louisiana College, Bluefield College, Virginia Intermont College, Williams Baptist College, Brewton-Parker College and Chowan University.
Although not a Baptist school, the Christian liberal arts college Erskine College – founded by the reformed Presbyterian Church – was ranked no. 2 on the Baccalaureate – South list.
The remaining IABCU schools were ranked under other regional subcategories under Baccalaureate and also in the master's degree category.
Thomas Corts, executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, said Baptists should "take pride" in their investment of "nurturing strong institutions," according to the Associated Baptist Press.
"While it is only one estimate of institutional standing, the continued excellent representation of Baptist colleges and universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings confirms that Baptist Colleges are competitive and well-considered in the world of higher education," said Corts.
The schools were ranked based on data provided by the institutions and by a survey of colleagues.
Last year, an all-time high of 43 Baptist schools made the U.S. News & World Report Best Schools list.