U.S. News and World Report ranked Trinity University first for quality and value among colleges in the Western region of the United States that offer a full range of undergraduate degrees and select masters degrees.

This is the 21st year in a row that U.S. News and World Report has awarded Trinity the top ranking in the regional university category. College rankings, such as the U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” guide, give Trinity a boost in marketing and recruitment of high school students.

“Being number one affords Trinity an opportunity to be noticed and recognized by prospective students that might not have heard of Trinity or might not have considered Trinity. [Students] will see this, and it speaks volumes about Trinity’s academic excellence and the resources that we have to offer,” said Sharon Schweitzer, assistant vice president of University Communications.

Peer assessment, graduation rates and retention rates count for 50 percent of U.S. News and World Report’s ranking methodology. The peer assessment surveys are completed by presidents, provosts, academic vice-presidents and deans of admissions of other universities.

“We got a 4.0 [for peer assessment], which is the highest in this list that we were in. What that says is that presidents, provosts, vice-presidents and deans consider Trinity to be an academically excellent center for undergraduate education,” Schweitzer said.

Trinity is ranked in the regional university category because of its focus on undergraduate education and its offering of select masters degrees. Universities can only belong to one category in the “America’s Best Colleges” guide, this is why Trinity University is not ranked in either the National University or Liberal Arts College categories.

“We would have to make a request to be moved into another category. The university has made a strategic decision, because it has such a strong position in [the regional university] category and because the U.S. News rankings allows us to increase our visibility through these rankings, for right now to stay in this particular category,” Schweitzer said.

In addition to the university-wide ranking, the engineering-science program was also recognized in the “America’s Best Colleges” guide as the 32nd best engineering science program among undergraduate institutions that do not grant Ph.Ds.

“We are very excited for this recognition, which is truly the result of the hard work by the faculty in the Engineering Science Department. We hope this recognition can bring more talented students to Trinity and our program,” said Farzan Aminian, professor and chair of the engineering science department. Unlike the other rankings that Trinity received, the engineering-science ranking is based entirely upon peer assessment surveys.

“One factor that has impacted our ranking is that our seniors consistently do very well on the national Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. In fact, the passing rate has been around 90% for the past few years. In 2012, 96% of our students passed the test. This is among the highest passing rates nationally,” Amian said.

Junior engineering major Derek Tinker was not surprised at the high ranking of the engineering science program.

“That department doesn’t torque around,” Tinker said.