Carroll Best in the West - Ninth Year in a Row
HELENA, MT – As U.S. News & World Report releases its annual Best Colleges rankings, Carroll College once again finds itself at the top of the list for best “Regional Colleges in the West.” This marks the ninth year in a row that Carroll has held the #1 spot, earning a perfect overall score of 100 with the 2020 rankings providing data on over 1,900 schools.
“Carroll, a diocesan, Catholic college, continues to lead the field due to our concerted focus on students and the undergraduate experience, our exceptional academics, and a thorough commitment to graduate outcomes,” said Carroll College President John Cech. “While it is nice to be recognized at the national level, what I am most excited about is the work that is happening in our classrooms right now and the impact that will have on our communities moving forward.
"It's exciting to be recognized as the top regional college in 15 western states. This is a great day for both Carroll and the state of Montana!"
Carroll has a number of initiatives in the works to both grow and expand their academic programs, particularly in the much-needed healthcare field. Over the past 15 years, Carroll has seen a 250% growth in enrollment in their health sciences programs, which include pre-professional health tracks such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, advanced nursing practice, and physician assistant. In an effort to keep up with this growth and meet the need for advanced healthcare jobs in Montana and beyond, Carroll has launched its “Health Sciences 2025 Initiative.” Included in this initiative is the renovation of its nursing education space with the creation of a state-of-the art nursing simulation lab, slated to be completed later this winter. In addition, the nursing program is adding an Accelerated Nursing Option, which allows students who already have bachelor’s degrees in other fields to become registered nurses within 15 months. Carroll is also currently developing its first two healthcare-related graduate programs – a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Master of Science in Social Work. The college is currently hiring directors for both positions.
In addition, Carroll is building dedicated space for their flagship anthrozoology program with the recent groundbreaking for the Perkins Call Canine Center. This 7,000 square foot facility will provide optimal training and research opportunities for this growing discipline which studies human–animal interactions.
Carroll also recently entered into an agreement with the University of Montana to offer a 3+3 program partnering with UM’s Blewett School of Law, wherein students attend Carroll for three years and then matriculate to the Missoula law school to complete their three-year law degree. A second collaboration with UM is a 4+1 program with their Master of Public Administration Program. The program allows participating students to complete their bachelor and MPA degrees in five years instead of the traditional six or more.
Affordability and access to higher education are two areas Carroll College is working to make their mark as well. In addition to having the most competitive merit scholarships in the region, Carroll has initiated Advantage Awards, providing scholarship support of $2,000-$10,000 for first-year students from Montana, Idaho, and Oregon.
“We are not content to rest on our laurels,” said Cech. “We continually look for ways to improve the academic experience for our students to help make them both productive and marketable in their future careers. We want to be part of the workforce solution and we believe our students are the answer.” Carroll is also proud of the fact that 72 percent of its graduates are working in Montana four years after graduation. “Per capita, we are the largest net importer of talent among Montana’s colleges and universities,” said Cech.
In addition to the #1 ranking for Best Regional College in the West, Carroll also retained the top standing for Best Regional College in the West for Veterans for the fifth year in a row. Carroll was selected #3 for Best Value College in the West, ranking in the top three for four years in a row.
The “Best Colleges” rankings, released annually by U.S. News & World Report, provide one of the most comprehensive and reputable assessments of over 1,900 regionally accredited institutions compared on a set of 15 measures of academic quality. Among the factors measured in the rankings are how well schools retain and graduate students, assessment of excellence from academic peers, the quality of and investment in faculty, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. View the methodology here.