Lander University has been named among the Top 5 four-year colleges in South Carolina. The rankings, released by Schools.com, come in anticipation of Lander welcoming one of its largest freshman classes ever, when members of the Class of 2021 arrive for Freshman Move-In Day on Monday, Aug. 14.
Lander was the highest-ranked comprehensive, nonmilitary university on the list, sharing Top 5 honors with Clemson University, Bob Jones University, the University of South Carolina-Columbia and The Citadel. The full list can be viewed online here.
In compiling their rankings, Schools.com editors considered a host of variables, including tuition, quality of degree programs offered, and retention - the percentage of students who persist in their efforts to earn a degree.
About Lander's tuition, editors said that the university "ranks high for its affordable tuition. Its average net price is the third best in the state, and Lander University ranks second for the average net price for low-income students."
In early August, Lander unveiled its Bearcat Payment Plan, which enables students to spread their tuition payment over four installments per semester.
"Business administration is the most popular program at Lander," the editors wrote. "Other programs of note include psychology, nursing and criminal justice. Students may also benefit from Lander University's policy to offer college credit for some life experiences."
The arrival of the expected record-setting freshman class will mark the second-straight year of growth at Lander. The Fall 2016 semester began with an 8-percent increase in first-time freshmen enrollment, and a 2.5-percent increase in overall enrollment.
The continued growth is just the latest sign that Lander's new strategic plan - developed and launched shortly after the arrival of President Richard Cosentino in 2015 - is building positive momentum at the university. Along with a significant focus on enrollment, the plan's initiatives include:
Classes for the 2017-18 academic year at Lander begin Thursday, Aug. 17.