National magazine ranks FHSU online education among best in nation for quality and affordability

US News Rankings

Rankings from U.S. News & World Report, one of the nation's most prominent news magazines, once again show Fort Hays State University as the top university in Kansas and one of the elite universities in the nation for the quality of its online education programs.

The news magazine, which has long published one of the most popular general rankings of colleges and universities, released on Thursday its fourth annual national rankings that specifically target online education. As in the previous three years, FHSU was among the leaders out of the thousands of public and private universities in the United States.

The magazine evaluated online higher education in eight categories: bachelor's programs generally and master's programs in business, MBA, education, engineering, nursing, criminal justice and computer information technology. FHSU offers online degrees in four of those categories: bachelor's; master's in education; MBA; and master's in nursing.

Based on the statistical data provided to U.S. News by FHSU, all four of the programs were included in the rankings:

  • For online bachelor's degrees, FHSU ranked 16th.
  • For online master's degrees in education, FHSU ranked 30th.
  • For online MBA degrees, FHSU ranked 74th.
  • For online master's degrees in nursing, FHSU was included in the rankings but not given a numerical position.

By comparison to FHSU at 16th, only six other Kansas universities were ranked for online bachelor's degrees: Southwestern, 136th; Newman, 153rd; Baker, 161st, Pittsburg State, 167th, Emporia State (no numerical position) and Tabor College (no numerical position). In the four neighboring states -- Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma -- a total of 28 schools were ranked, all of them lower than FHSU, except for the Colorado State Global Campus at seventh and Creighton, which tied with FHSU at 16th.

For the master's in education, six other Kansas universities were ranked, all lower than FHSU's 30th except for Emporia State at 11th. The others were Pittsburg State at 47th; Kansas State at 86th; Newman and Southwestern tied at 112th; and Baker at 168th. The four neighboring states had a total of 22 schools ranked, all of them lower than FHSU, except for Nebraska at fifth, Creighton at 11th, Northern Colorado at 13th and Kearney at 23rd.

For online MBA degrees, four other Kansas universities were ranked, all lower than FHSU's 74th. They were Ottawa at 111th, St. Mary at 142nd, Baker (no numerical position) and Southwestern (no numerical position). The four neighboring states had a total of 20 schools ranked. Four of those were higher than FHSU: Colorado at Colorado Springs at 40th, Oklahoma State at 41st, Missouri Science and Technology at 55th, and Colorado State at 57th.

For online nursing degrees, only the University of Kansas received a numerical ranking, at 25th. FHSU (no numerical position) was the only other Kansas university included. The four neighboring states had a total of 15 universities ranked.

No Kansas universities were included in the rankings for criminal justice or computer information technology. Kansas State was the only Kansas university included in the rankings for engineering, at 20th. In the fourth category for which FHSU does not offer an online master's degree -- business -- three Kansas universities were ranked: Southwestern at 77th, Ottawa at 78th and Baker (no numerical position).

The criteria used by U.S. News included student engagement; faculty credentials and training; peer reputation; student services and technology; and admissions selectivity.

"We are pleased to be recognized as one of the top universities in the nation for the quality of our online academic programs, especially because we know this is an accurate reflection of the high quality education our students are actually receiving," said Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president. "From the beginning, we have insisted on the same academic rigor in the online classes that we guarantee in our traditional classrooms on the Hays campus. The same core faculty who create the courses for our traditional classes also create our Virtual College courses."

President Martin praised faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication that earned the U.S. News & World Report rankings. "It takes people of excellence to create these kinds of programs of distinction that attract thousands of online students from across Kansas, from nearly all 50 states and from other nations to our university as their destination of choice," she said.

FHSU's Virtual College is ranked consistently by numerous ratings bodies among the top in the nation not just for quality but also for affordability. In addition to U.S. News & World Report, these assessments have come from,, and others.

FHSU's exceptional affordability is not limited to the Virtual College. According to an earlier U.S. News and World Report ranking, which was released in fall 2014, Fort Hays State has the second-lowest tuition and fees in the country for in-state students.

"Quality is of prime importance, but it is also highly significant for our students that the courses and degrees offered online by Fort Hays State are less expensive than those at other universities," said Dennis King, director of the Virtual College. "We are very proud to point out that the FHSU Virtual College ranks in the bottom 1 percent of that other important category -- the cost of an online college education."

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