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ASU bests competition on and off the court


December 31, 2014

As 2014 was coming to a close, Sun Devil Athletics was scoring three big wins.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams knocked off Harvard and Yale, respectively, in back-to-back battles on the hardwood of Wells Fargo Arena, Dec. 28.

And the previous day in El Paso, Texas, ASU football capped a 10-win season with a victory against Duke in the Sun Bowl.

But their on-the-field play may not be the only thing the East Coasters are smarting about. Tangling with ASU has the New American University coming out on top in other areas as well.

Take Academic All-Americans, for example. In the program’s existence, Arizona State University has produced 113 of these exceptional scholar athletes compared to Duke’s 105, Harvard’s 74 and Yale’s 60.

ASU ranks third in the nation in earned Fulbright awards – the U.S. State Department’s pre-eminent cultural and educational exchange program. That’s ahead of Duke and Yale. And the percentage of ASU’s Fulbright applications that are accepted is significantly higher than any of the other three, speaking to the quality of ASU’s applicants. Forty-three percent of ASU students who apply for a Fulbright get chosen; Duke has 30 percent selected, Harvard 29 percent and Yale 20 percent.

Sun Devil researchers are at the top of their field as well. According to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey in 2012, ASU received more than $385 million dollars in non-medical research grants, beating out Duke’s $190 million and Yale’s $115 million. Harvard topped the group with $538 million that year. (More recently in 2014, ASU’s research expenditures topped $425 million.)

Some point to the selectivity of institutions of higher education as a measure of what makes them special. In 2014, Harvard admitted 5.9 percent of its applicants, Yale let in 6.3 percent and Duke sent thick envelopes to 9 percent of students who applied.

ASU sees it differently. If students meet the criteria to do the work, they are admitted as part of ASU’s dedication to closing the higher education gap in this country.

To further enable access to education, ASU has invested heavily in its online degree programs, and landed in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 rankings for online bachelor’s degree programs. Harvard, Yale and Duke don’t make the top 50.

ASU is also doing more to educate our nation’s military and veterans. In 2013, ASU had more than 3,100 beneficiaries of the GI Bill working toward a degree and was named a military friendly school for 2015 by G.I. Jobs Magazine. Harvard, Yale and Duke did not appear in that ranking.

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