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      WIU ranked among top regional universities

      On campus

      Four colleges in the Tri-States have been recognized for the quality of their education by a national report.

      U.S. News and World report released its best college rankings for 2014.

      Truman State , Culver Stockton , Quincy University and WIU all made the list.

      For the 9th year in row, Western Illinois University has been recognized as one of the best schools in the nation.

      In the category of Best Regional University the school is ranked 48th out of 110 public and private schools.

      For WIU Provost Kenneth Hawkinson its proof the school is on the right track.

      "We are working on all fronts to improve our reputation and bring in a more diverse student body," Provost Hawkinson said. "Indeed our student body I believe now is 25 percent represented by minority and diverse groups. And that's a major increase from past years."

      Tough financial times in Springfield are causing schools like WIU to come up with new options to make sure students continue to get a quality education.

      "Higher education is being priced out of the market for many of the students in the state of Illinois," Hawkinson said. "And that's why we established a number of scholarship programs to assist them. We're talking about many other new initiatives in the coming year to help our students meet those financial obligations."

      The students we spoke to gave the same answer for choosing Western ... smaller classrooms and individual attention.

      "Most of the classes are small ... I have at least. Where the teachers have more room to help out the individual." Freshman Isaiah Wiggins said.

      "If you need any help your professors are very willing to just be like..come by my office, shoot me an e-mail or even call me over the phone and we can help out," Junior Karlee Swanson said.

      "Western helped me grow as an individual," Senior Micah Chavin said. "Businesses like it because you have more one on one and personal time. So it helps your personality grow and your more personable with other people as well."

      "There is a deep sense of satisfaction to be recognized," Provost Hawkinson said. "That's true for students and their classes and that's true for an administration of a university. We, too, feel happy to be recognized in this way."

      Of the four Tri-State schools, Truman University topped the list at number ten, followed by Culver-Stockton, WIU and Quincy University.