Brigham Young University is the second most popular national university in the country, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report earlier this week.
Since 2008, the magazine has ranked schools according to the percentage of university applicants accepted who actually enroll, a statistic called the "yield rate."
Last year, BYU ranked No. 1, ahead of both Harvard and Stanford, respectively. This year, the Provo school had a yield rate of 74.7 percent, closely edging behind Harvard, which had a 75.5 percent yield.
"Clearly, the majority of our applicants are members of the Church, and they want to be here," said BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead. "They want to be here for the academic experience and environment where they share the same standards and values as others."
The No. 2 status comes during a time of spotlight for the Church that the media are calling the "Mormon moment." The Church, which sponsors Brigham Young University and its sister schools in Idaho and Hawaii, is publicly known for its emphasis on honesty and family values.
"Our graduates have excellent preparation to enter the workforce with integrity," Brother Hollingshead said.
U.S. News also consistently ranks BYU among the top 20 schools for "best value."
According to the magazine, "The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal."
This year, BYU ranks No. 13 for "best value," with 32.9 percent of students receiving need-based grants and the average discount from the total cost of tuition being 33 percent.
According to BYU's website, tuition for LDS students costs $2,280, an amount that is subsidized by the Church for each enrollee, while non-LDS students pay twice as much. The BYU website also states that "significant portions of university operating costs are paid with the tithes of Church members."
Speaking to students and others at a BYU-Hawaii groundbreaking event Dec. 17, 2011, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "What you get, you get because of the contributions of people all over the world who will never get a temple or a university in their community."
Among other recognitions, BYU is also nationally known for its foreign language teaching focus, a factor largely attributed to the high population of returned-missionary students. As students come home from their foreign-speaking missions, they often desire to continue learning the language and opt for classes that meet that need, Brother Hollingshead said.
"A significant portion of language skill acquisition at BYU comes from serving foreign missions," he said, adding that nearly 70 percent of students speak more than one language. BYU has some 30,000 undergraduates.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal also ranked BYU graduates No. 11 in the eyes of recruiters.