Each year U.S. News publishes a ranking of the Best Colleges in the United States. U.S. News divides colleges and universities into appropriate categories for comparisons using the breakdown of types of higher education institutions developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The four main groupings are National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges. National Universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees; many strongly emphasize research, defined by the Carnegie Foundation as Research Universities (very high research activity), Research Universities (high research activity), and Doctoral/Research Universities. Ashland University is included in the National Universities category.
U.S. News gathers data on 15 indicators of academic quality from each school. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects how much a measure matters. The indicators include input measures that reflect a school's student body, its faculty, and its financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution does its job of educating students.