U.S. News Rankings 2015: Another Down Year for Many Public Universities

Now that the U.S. News Best Colleges edition for 2015 is in our midst, we will continue our yearly saga of reporting the ranking trends for major public universities.  The short version: 2015 is another bad year for publics, reminiscent of 2013.  The 2014 edition showed some minor gains among public universities. (Here’s a related post: Alternative U.S. News Rankings: Lots of Surprises.)

The 2014 rankings showed gains by 23 of the 50 schools we follow most closely, while 19 declined and 8 remained the same.  But the new 2015 edition shows a decline for a whopping 26 public universities out of the 50, gains for 18, and no change for 6.

Penn State paid for the big gain it made in 2014, dropping 11 places from 37 to 48.  Does anyone really believe Penn State has changed that much in one year?  Maybe UMass fans think the rankings are great in 2015: their school improved from 91 to 76.

The UC campuses continue to do very well, however, with increases for most and with UCLA holding its own.

We could go on and say who the alleged “winners” and “losers” are in 2015, but have a look below and you’ll find out, and not just for 2015.  We list the rankings for the last four years so readers will have a better sense of the roller coaster ride that some schools are going through.

Below are the 50 universities we follow, showing by the symbols (-, +, or +) whether they fell, stayed the same, or gained in the rankings.  We also list each school’s rankings for a three-year span: 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Schools with larger gains are listed in caps.

-Alabama—2015 (88); 2014 (86); 2013 (77); 2012 (75)

-Arizona—2015 (121); 2014 (119); 2013 (120); 2012 (124)

+ARIZONA STATE—2015 (126); 2014 (142); 2013 (139); 2012 (132)

-Arkansas—2015 (135); 2014 (128); 2013 (134); 2012 (132)

Auburn—2015 (103);2014 (91); 2013 (89); 2012 (82)

+BINGHAMTON—2015 (88); 2014 (97); 2013 (89); 2012 (90)

=Clemson—2015 (62); 2014 (62); 2013 (68); 2012 (68)

-Colorado—2015 (88); 2014 (86); 2013 (97); 2012 (94)

-Connecticut–2015 (58); 2014 (57); 2013 (63); 2012 (58)

-Delaware—2015 (76); 2014 (75); 2013 (75); 2012 (75)

+FLORIDA–2015 (48); 2014 (49); 2013 (54); 2012 (58)

-Georgia—2015 (62); 2014 (60); 2013 (63); 2012 (62)

=Georgia Tech—2015 (36); 2014 (36); 2013 (36); 2012 (36)

-Illinois—2015 (42); 2014 (41); 2013 (46); 2012 (42)

-Indiana—2015(76); 2014 (75); 2013 (83); 2012 (75)

+IOWA—2015 (71); 2014 (73); 2013 (72); 2012 (71)

-Iowa State—2015 (106); 2014 (101); 2013 (101); 2012 (97)

-Kansas—2015 (106); 2014 (101); 2013 (106); 2012 (101)

=Maryland—2015 (62); 2014 (62); 2013 (58); 2012 (55)

+MASSACHUSETTS—2015 (76); 2014 (91); 2012 (97); 2012 (94)

-Michigan—2015 (29); 2014 (28); 2013 (29); 2012 (28)

Michigan State—2015 (85); 2014 (73); 2013 (72); 2012 (71)

-Minnesota—2015 (71); 2014 (69); 2013 (68); 2012 (68)

+Mississippi—2015 (149); 2014 (150); 2013 (151); 2012 (143)

-Missouri—2015 (99); 2014 (97); 2013 (97); 2012 (90)

+NEBRASKA—2015 (99); 2014 (101); 2013 (101); 2012 (101)

=North Carolina—2015 (30); 2014 (30); 2013 (30); 2012 (29)

+NC STATE—2015 (95); 2014 (101); 2013 (106); 2012 (101)

-Ohio State—2015 (54); 2014 (52); 2013 (56); 2012 (55)

+OREGON—2015 (106); 2014 (109); 2013 (115); 2012 (101)

Penn State—2015 (48); 2014 (37); 2013 (46); 2012 (45)

=Pitt—2015 (62); 2014 (62); 2013 (58); 2012 (58)

+PURDUE—2015 (62); 2014 (68); 2013 (65); 2012 (62)

-Rutgers—2015 (70); 2014 (69); 2013 (68); 2012 (68)

-South Carolina—2015 (113); 2014 (112); 2013 (115); 2012 (111)

-Stony Brook—2015 (88); 2014 (82); 2013 (92); 2012 (111)

+TEXAS A&M—2015 (68); 2014 (69); 2013 (65); 2012 (58)

+UC DAVIS—2015 (38); 2014 (39); 2013 (38); 2012 (38)

+UC IRVINE—2015 (42); 2014 (49); 2013 (44); 2012 (45)

=UC Los Angeles 2015 (23); 2014 (23); 2013 (24); 2012 (25)

+UC SAN DIEGO—2015 (37); 2014 (39); 2013 (37); 2012 (38)

+UC SANTA BARBARA—2015 (40); 2014 (41); 2013 (41); 2012 (42)

+UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO—2015 (103); 2014 (109); 2013 (106); 2012 (111)

UT Austin—2015 (53); 2014 (52); 2013 (46); 2012 (45)

-Vermont—2015 (85); 2014 (82); 2013 (92); 2012 (82)

=Virginia—2015 (23); 2014 (23); 2013 (24); 2012 (25)

-Virginia Tech—2015 (71); 2014 (69); 2013 (72); 2012 (71)

+WASHINGTON–2015 (48); 2014 (52); 2013 (46); 2012 (42)

Washington State—2015 (138); 2014 (128); 2013 (125); 2012 (115)

-Wisconsin—2015 (47); 2014 (41); 2013 (41); 2012 (42)

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