According to new rankings, Dixie State University is not the best.
In a list of national rankings this year from College Factual, DSU scored 1,373 out of 1,387. These rankings are based on graduation and retention rates, student loan default rates, and early and mid-career earnings from college graduates. Other rankings listed within DSU’s ranking include No. 9 out of nine best Utah colleges and No. 971 out of 1,208 colleges nationwide on saving money.
Even though DSU’s ranking is low, Andrea Brown, director of institutional research, said there are some issues in College Factual’s data.
“My office reports data to [the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System], but it takes them almost a year to move all the data through the system and have it finalized, so the data is [lagging],” Brown said.
The ranking also still refers to DSU as Dixie State College. Brown said she has contacted IPEDS about changing the name twice, but it still has not been done.
IPEDS is using the average test score of the ACT, freshman retention rates, and six year graduation rates as their metrics, Brown said. She said DSU is low in those areas because it’s an open enrollment institution. DSU also needs additional majors to retain students, Brown said.
Retention and graduation rates can also be affected by data on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints missionaries, Brown said. There are allowable exceptions for these rates, which include LDS missionaries. Unlike non-missionary students who, if they don’t return to DSU, factor negatively into retention and graduation rates, LDS missionaries can be excluded from those statistics. DSU is currently “struggling” with having complete data on LDS missionaries, which in turn lowers the accuracy of the rates, Brown said.
“(The) biggest problem I see is that there aren’t enough degrees,” said Brandon Borget, a junior accounting major from Springville.
Some students like Austin Badger, a junior criminal justice major from Folsom, California, said DSU’s rankings aren’t that great because DSU is still a new university.
“I think we just need more time and maybe [need to be] less accepting of all students once we’ve grown big enough,” Badger said.
Brown said improvements will hopefully be made with the President Biff William’s strategic plan, which includes promoting student success, enhancing academic programs, investing in faculty and staff, enhancing support for inclusion and equity, engaging in the community and establishing a strong brand.
“I believe the strategic plan was developed to help improve the university as a whole and will improve our ranking in College Factual,” Brown said.