Mizzou gets ‘Best Buy’ rating from college guide book

The popular Fiske Guide to Colleges listed the University of Missouri in Columbia among its “Best Buy” schools for 2018, good news for a campus struggling to enroll more students and fighting a public relations campaign.

Fiske’s three-page MU profile refers to Mizzou as a “school on the rise” and draws from student surveys in which one participant said MU “will shape your life and help guide you into the future.”

The guide used by potential students does not rank schools. It’s the first time officials at MU remember being named a best buy in the guide. The book rated MU as a best buy taking into account cost, academic programs, college life and its rate of graduating 69 percent of students over six years.

“We decide which colleges to include in the Fiske Guide, which includes writeups of about 325 of what we call ‘the best and most interesting colleges in the country.’ We then invite the colleges to fill out an Institutional Questionnaire giving lots of information about academic programs, the makeup of the student body, admissions procedures and so forth,” Edward Fiske, the author of the guide, said in an email.

“So the guide is essentially a collection of narrative essays about colleges.”

Truman State University in Kirksville, considered the most selective public school in the state, is also a 2018 Fiske guide best buy. Last year, but not this year, the University of Kansas was among the schools in the guide book considered to give students the biggest bang for their buck.

The MU profile discusses such areas as the number of degree programs, Greek and residence hall life, and the racial breakdown of the student body.

It did mention the 2015 MU student protests over “chronically poor race relations on campus.”

Fiske awards its best buy stamp after “we compile a list of schools that offer the great educational value as measured by the relationship between quality and cost,” said Fiske. “The colleges have no role in determining whether they would qualify.”

It cost a Missouri resident $27,374 — including tuition, fees, housing and food, books, and transportation — for summer and spring semesters in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Fiske rating comes as MU has seen enrollment numbers drop and as it has been dueling with The New York Times over a story that said students and their families are shunning the school in the wake of bad publicity.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc