Illinois State University was ranked the 79th best public university in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The University demonstrated its level of excellence in subcategories of the report, keeping 34 percent of classes with fewer than 20 students, even with a rising number of students. Illinois State also preserved a 72 percent graduation rate, continuing a rate far above the national average of 56 percent for public universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“In the last two years, we have seen our freshman class grow in record numbers, yet we have dedicated ourselves to giving students access to innovative learning opportunities,” said Illinois State University President Larry Dietz. “Rankings like these never tell the full story, yet it simply reaffirms what we already know, that Illinois State is a leader in public education.”

Overall, Illinois State was ranked 149th among all public and private universities in the nation. U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on factors such as undergraduate peer assessment scores that are from high school counselors as well as college and university presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions. Other factors include student retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance.