U.S. News & World Report

Lyon College is ranked in the top tier of the best national liberal arts colleges for the seventh year in a row, according to the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guidebook. Lyon also made the list of colleges whose students graduated with the least debt load.

According to U.S. News, these colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the arts and sciences. Lyon is only one of a few schools in Arkansas that fits the criteria.

“I am delighted once again to see that Lyon College is in the top tier of this ranking,” said Lyon College President Dr. Donald Weatherman. “More importantly, we are among the colleges whose graduates have the least amount of debt when they leave college.”

U.S. News compiled a list of schools whose Class of 2012 graduated with the heaviest and lightest debt loads. The data include loans taken out by students from their colleges, from private financial institutions, and from federal, state, and local governments. Loans to parents are not included. Lyon made the list of 25 national liberal arts colleges whose students owed the least amount of money upon graduation.

According to U.S. News, the average amount of debt for Lyon’s 2012 graduates was $17,179. Lyon is the only Arkansas college or university on the “Least Debt” list.

Among the factors weighed in determining the Best Colleges rankings, the key measures of quality for national universities and national liberal arts colleges are: undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, high school counselor ratings, and graduation rate performance.

Lyon College also was named to U.S. News and World Report's "Most Students in Fraternities" and "Most Students in Sororities" list with 44 percent of students in fraternities and 41 percent in sororities.

U.S. News also ranks national universities, which offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. degrees, and emphasize faculty research; regional universities, which offer undergraduate degrees and some master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs; and regional colleges, which focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines.

The Princeton Review also recently recognized Lyon as a “Best Southeastern College” in its annual report for the tenth consecutive year and Lyon is included in Forbes.com’s “America’s Best Colleges” ranking. In August, Washington Monthly magazine’s annual College Guide also named Lyon one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.