“To achieve this recognition for more than two decades is an acknowledgment of our outstanding academic programs, quality research and significant alumni support,” said James W. Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota. “The entire university community is to be commended for this honor and the continued success of the University of South Dakota.”

The National Universities category consists of 280 institutions. USD is one of 172 public universities to be included while 101 private schools and seven for-profit universities are also recognized in either the First or Second Tier. “Best National Universities” criteria is based on several key credentials of higher education standards, including undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

Since 1983, the U.S. News college rankings, which groups schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities. This year, more than 1,300 colleges and universities were surveyed for the “America’s Best Colleges 2012” edition, which spotlights schools with outstanding academic programs, study abroad opportunities, successful internship programs and service learning curriculum. These exclusive rankings are available in the guidebook, which is available on newsstands now or online at www.usnews.com/bestcolleges.

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