Average U.S. News Rankings for 126 Universities: 2010-2017

Listed below are the yearly rankings and overall average rankings of 126 national universities that were included in the first tier of the U.S. News Best Colleges from 2010 through 2017. There are 63 public and 63 private universities.

As a group, the private universities have had an average increase in the rankings of two places, while the public universities have had an average decline of five places, demonstrating what we have observed in the past–public universities are, in general, not on an upward trajectory in the rankings. A big reason for the negative impact on public university rankings is surely the severe budget cuts by legislatures across the country in the wake of the Great Recession. As economic times improve, one would hope that much more of the state funding will be restored. But, realistically, that is not likely to happen, and increasing reliance on private funds by public colleges appears to be the only way not to fall behind–or, at least, not to fall farther behind.

The decline in public university rankings appears to be getting worse. In a previous listing of U.S. News rankings from 2008-2015, the average public ranking had fallen three places over that span of years, versus five places now.  This additional decline is even more significant given that it has occurred over only two additional years.

One reason for the phenomenon is increased “gaming” of the rankings. Some institutions, public and private, but mostly the latter, have geared their marketing and merit aid to increase the number of applicants and lower their acceptance rates accordingly. This makes them more “selective” and helps to improve their rankings.

Northeastern University, for example, has risen 41 places in the rankings since 2010, and 57 places since 2008.  How likely is it that in such a short period of time Northeastern has actually improved so dramatically, from 96th to 39th?

The U.S. News rankings not only over-emphasize the metrics related to a university’s financial resources but also, especially in the last five years or so, reward selectivity when, in fact, the results of the selectivity are already considered. Why should Stanford be rewarded for having an acceptance rate of 5% and be rewarded for having high graduation and retention rates, both of which are largely the result of selectivity. Using test scores as a factor in predicting what grad rates should be is fine, as is rewarding or penalizing schools for exceeding or not meeting such predictions. But the high scores themselves and the low acceptance percentages merely duplicate what is more properly measured by outcomes.

We will have more to say on these issues in the future. But for now, here are the historical rankings, the average of each school across eight years, and the increase or decline of each school from 2010 through 2017. The universities are listed in order of their average ranking across the years.

Please scroll down several lines to see the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 20102011201220132014201520162017Avg RankChg 2010
to 2017
Princeton121111111.1250
Harvard111122221.5-1
Yale3333333330
Columbia844444454.6253
Stanford455654454.75-1
Chicago895454435.255
MIT475677776.25-3
Penn455878986.75-4
Caltech47510101010128.5-8
Duke10910878888.52
Dartmouth11911101011121110.6250
Northwestern121212121213121212.1250
Johns Hopkins141313131212101012.1254
Washington Univ121314141414151914.375-7
Brown161515151416141414.8752
Cornell151515151615151515.1250
Vanderbilt171717171716151516.3752
Rice171717171819181517.252
Notre Dame201919171816181517.755
Emory172020202021212019.875-3
UC Berkeley212221212020202020.6251
Georgetown232122212021212021.1253
Carnegie Mellon222323232325232423.25-2
USC262323242325232323.753
UCLA242525242323232423.8750
Virginia242525242323262424.250
Wake Forest282525272327272726.1251
Tufts282829282827272727.751
Michigan272928292829292728.250
North Carolina283029303030303029.625-2
Boston College343131313131303131.253
William & Mary333133333233343232.6251
NYU323333323232323632.75-4
Brandeis313431333235343433-3
Rochester353735333233333233.753
Georgia Tech353536363636363435.51
UC San Diego353537383937394438-9
Case Western414138373738373738.254
UC Davis423938383938414439.875-2
UC Santa Barbara423942414140373739.8755
Lehigh353738384140474440-9
RPI424150414142413942.1253
UW Madison394542414147414442.5-5
Illinois394745464142414443.125-5
UC Irvine464145444942393943.1257
Penn State474745463748475045.875-3
U of Miami504738444748514446.1256
Washington 424142465248525447.125-12
Boston Univ565653514142413947.37517
Tulane505150515254413948.511
UT Austin474545465253525649.5-9
Yeshiva525045464748526650.75-14
Florida475358544948475050.75-3
George Washington535150515254575653-3
Ohio St535655565254525454-1
Pepperdine585355545754525054.1258
Northeastern806962564942473955.541
Maryland535655586262576057.875-7
Fordham615653585758666058.6251
Syracuse585562586258616059.25-2
Georgia 585662636062615659.752
SMU685662586058615659.87512
Connecticut6669586357585760616
Pitt566458586262666861.75-12
Purdue615662656862616061.8751
WPI686462656268576063.258
Clemson616468686262616664-5
Texas A&M616358656968707466-13
Minnesota616468686971697167.625-10
Brigham Young717571686262666867.8753
Rutgers666468686970727068.375-4
Virginia Tech716971726971707470.875-3
Iowa717271727371828274.25-11
Delaware687575757576757974.75-11
Baylor8079757775717271759
Michigan St717971727385758276-11
American847982777571727176.37513
Indiana717575837576758677-15
UC Santa Cruz717275778685827978.375-8
Col School of Mines777275779188758279.625-5
Stevens Inst Tech848688758276757179.62513
Miami Oh777990897576827980.875-2
Marquette847582837576868680.875-2
Clark888694837576757481.37514
Tulsa889375838688868685.6252
Denver848682839188868685.75-2
Alabama9679757786889610387.5-7
Binghamton808688899788898687.875-6
Vermont889482928285899288-4
Colorado 778694978688899288.625-15
UMass Amherst106999497917675748932
TCU110999792827682829028
Drexel888688839795999691.5-8
Auburn88858289911031029992.375-11
St. Louis8486889210199969692.75-12
Stony Brook9699111928288899694.1250
San Diego1109497929195898694.2524
Florida St102104101979195969297.2510
NC State8811110110610195899297.875-4
Missouri102949097979910311199.125-9
Iowa St889494101101106108111100.375-23
Nebraska9610410110110199103111102-15
Tennessee106104101101101106103103103.1253
New Hampshire1101041011069799103107103.3753
Oklahoma102111101101101106108111105.125-9
Kansas96104101106101106115118105.875-22
UC Riverside969497101112113121118106.5-22
Dayton11099101115112103108111107.375-1
Oregon115111101115109106103103107.87512
Loyola Chicago1191171191061011069999108.2520
Pacific11599101106112116108111108.54
Univ at Buffalo1211201111061091039999108.522
Illinois Tech106111111113109116108103109.6253
South Carolina110111111115112113108107110.8753
Michigan Tech121117111120117116123118117.8753
Arizona102120124120119121121124118.875-22
Clarkson119124119115121121115129120.375-10
Catholic121120119120121116123124120.5-3
Howard96104111120142145135124122.125-28
Washington St106111115125128138140143125.75-37
Colorado St128124128134121121127129126.5-1
Kentucky128129124125119129129133127-5
Ohio Univ115124124131135129125146128.625-31
Arkansas128132132134128135129135131.625-7
Arizona St121143132139142129129129133-8
62.569

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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