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USU Eastern ranks near top in nation for student advancement

USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson credits the merger of CEU and USU for creating opportunities.

USU Eastern tied for third best in the nation in a success rating of nearly 800 community colleges.

The ranking, reported this month in CNNMoney, is based on the percentage of students who graduated within three years or transferred to four-year colleges.

"To be in the nation's top three on such a list is an extraordinary accomplishment and a great reflection of the faculty and staff who serve our students," said USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson. "This is a special college with a lot of heart. We think it has everything to do with why our students go on to achieve success."

The survey, conducted by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes of Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, compiled a success rating chart for CNNMoney to help students find the best options. USU Eastern tied with New Mexico Military Institute with an 84 percent success rating.

USU Eastern, with campuses in Price and Blanding, is a two-year, comprehensive regional college and a part of nationally-ranked Utah State University. The two institutions, with a combined educational heritage of 200 years, officially merged in July 2010. It marked the first time in the state's history that two institutions of higher education joined forces.

According to Peterson, the merger symbolizes an important change in the way the state views its existing universities and colleges. Not all of these institutions necessarily need to operate independent of one another. In some cases, institutions and communities benefit when resources are combined.

He said he has no doubt that is the case with the merger of Utah State University and the College of Eastern Utah.

It is a model that Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. praised during a commencement address at the college in April. He said he pushed for the merger while he was governor and continues to watch with great interest the resulting progress.

Peterson said the union with USU has bolstered the college and benefitted students who are on track for upper-division studies to more seamlessly make the transition from a two-year to a four-year experience.

He said USU's great strength is its state-wide educational mission as Utah's only land-grant university, while USU Eastern has foundational education and job-training power. The combined schools complement each other's vision in a way that was not possible before.

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