Winona State University has once again earned top placements this year from various external organizations in their annual rankings of U.S. colleges and universities. These independent results are further validated by internal assessments conducted by the university to evaluate performance in student support and outcomes.


“Our data is showing us that WSU is exceeding expectations and outperforming other universities across the region,” said WSU President Scott R. Olson. “From superior student support and financial aid opportunities to academic success and impressive graduate outcomes, Winona State continues to deliver results for its students, even in the midst of a pandemic.”


Among the rankings released this year, Winona State ranked number one in Minnesota for getting a job in two separate studies conducted by Zippia. The first study ranked WSU first among public colleges in Minnesota, and fourth overall in the United States. A second study by Zippia evaluated WSU’s performance in graduate job placement among other mid-sized colleges in Minnesota, public or private, and again found Winona State to occupy the top spot.


These independent findings were supported by the university’s own analysis, which determined that for the undergraduate class of 2018-19, almost 100 percent of respondents (99.2, to be exact) were employed in full or part-time work, with fully 97 percent of WSU graduates employed in fields related to their degree.


“We are proud of our graduates’ success in securing their first positions within their careers,” said WSU Associate Director of Career Services DeAnna Goddard. “Our students take advantage of the many career readiness resources that Winona State University has available through Career Services, and they continue to be supported as new professionals in their careers.”


In terms of student success in general, Winona State maintained its status within the Minnesota State system as achieving the #1 Student Success Rate among all 32 colleges and universities in the system. Additionally, WSU’s value-added “dividend”—the predicted rate of student success compared to the actual rate of student success—increased by one point in 2020. This metric uses national data provided by U.S. News & World Report to assess how much an institution contributes to the success of its students. The data confirm the positive impact Winona State has on its students and reveal that WSU is outperforming not only other Minnesota State universities but competitors across the region, including University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, University of Northern Iowa, University of Minnesota – Duluth and private institutions like Hamline University and St. Catherine University.


Further external rankings released in 2020 confirm the university’s position among the nation’s top public universities, based on independent assessments of factors such as academic quality, cost of attendance, graduation and retention rates, graduation rate performance, faculty resources, student selectivity, and alumni giving. These rankings include:


These institutional rankings also weight their findings based on financial resources for students, including financial aid availability. For those enrolled during the 2019-2020 academic year, 98 percent of freshmen at Winona State received some form of financial aid, alongside 94 percent of undergraduate students overall.


“Winona State understands that achieving the dream of a college degree is an investment,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life Denise McDowell. “It is of vital importance, now more than ever, that the university does what it can to provide financial support to our students so they can achieve that dream. WSU has always been committed to this effort and is continually exploring new opportunities to increase the level of support that makes choosing WSU possible.”


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