Despite its slide in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, Kansas University fares well in two new books designed to guide high school students to good colleges.
"Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter" named KU as one of 20 universities in the nation that do a good job helping students be successful.
The book, written and researched by an Indiana University team of researchers, said that KU is a place where "students come first and are important, valued participants in the life of the university."
The other book, "University of Kansas: Off the Record," is part of the College Prowler series of guides to American universities, and is based on interviews with dozens of students here. Jonah Ballow, a 2004 KU journalism grad, oversaw the KU edition.
"The majority of students at the University of Kansas only have positive comments when rating this college," Ballow wrote. "The students have the opportunity to get a quality education at a fairly cheap price, which is something that not a lot of schools can boast."
KU officials welcomed the praise.
"We're always thrilled when positive things are said about the University of Kansas," said Lisa Pinamonti, KU's director of admissions. "We feel the university is a great place for students."
The College Prowler book let KU students rank the university in 20 categories, with the college and Lawrence receiving highest marks in safety, off-campus dining, nightlife and transportation. The lowest marks came for campus diversity and parking.
That last detail didn't surprise Jeff Edmonds, a Shawnee senior in art history at KU.
"Parking is horrible on campus," he said.
But he agreed with the Prowler guide that, overall, he is getting a good and affordable education.
"I enjoy the culture," he said. "There's a lot of opportunities in a small area, where in Kansas City (those opportunities) are spread across the entire city."
The "Student Success" book, meanwhile, praised KU for balancing its teaching and research missions.
"Even the chancellor teaches," the authors noted, "symbolizing to faculty and students KU's commitment to undergraduate education."
Chancellor Robert Hemenway is teaching a literature survey class three days a week this semester, a university spokesman said.
Pinamonti said it's difficult to measure how such positive publicity affects student recruitment. Most students, she said, choose a college based on campus visits.
"Truly, they have to determine if the campus atmosphere is the right one for them," she said. "Of course, positive publicity is great for the University of Kansas."