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Wall Street Journal ranks JMU highly in outcomes, engagement

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James Madison University ranks #109 in outcomes and #111 in engagement in the 2021 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings of 797 schools throughout the United States.

JMU’s overall ranking is No. 281, tied with Azusa Pacific University, a private school in California.

JMU, a public university, is among 15 public and private Virginia colleges and universities in the WSJ rankings, which aim to assess student success and learning.

“Outcomes,” as defined in the rankings, are based on an institution’s graduation rate, the value added to graduates’ salary, debt after graduation and academic reputation. The category, which accounts for 40 percent of the overall rankings, considers an institution’s record on delivering successful outcomes for its students.

Making up 20 percent of the overall rankings, “engagement” with students factors student engagement, student recommendations, interaction with teachers and students, and the number of accredited programs to determine ranking. The category focuses on how well an institution informs, inspires and challenges its students.

The remaining 40 percent of the overall rankings are determined by resources (30 percent) and environment (10 percent).

Factors in resources are finance per student, faculty per student and research papers per faculty. Environment factors are the proportion of international students, student diversity, student inclusion and staff diversity.

The complete Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings are available at

JMU is also the “Best College for Getting a Job” in Virginia for the second year in a row, according to information compiled by Zippia based on data from the Department of Education College Scorecard and statewide job placement numbers 10 years after graduation.