An open admissions policy is responsible for Kansas University getting a 113th-place overall ranking in a magazine's survey of U.S. universities, but the survey places KU 28th best for academics among public universities, KU officials said Friday.
U.S. News and World Report's 1992 America's Best Colleges issue ranked KU the 113th best overall, placing it in the third tier of 214 universities in the country.
However, a further breakdown of the magazine's rankings, which was requested by KU officials this week, showed the university was rated substantially higher for academics.
The magazine only lists overall rankings in four tiers. KU is ranked in the third tier.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig in a statement Friday said the state's open admissions policy contributed to the difference in KU's academic and overall rankings.
"The state's open admissions policy clearly disadvantages us in this particular (overall) rating of institutions," Budig said.
THE MAGAZINE, KU officials said, uses "selectivity," or the percentage of applicants refused admission, as a key element in its overall rankings, which included both public and private institutions.
KU does not refuse admission to any graduate of an accredited Kansas high school.
The magazine based its overall ratings on selectivity; the degree to which the school financially supports a high-quality, full-time faculty; the school's overall financial resources; and the level of student satisfaction as measured by the school's ability to graduate the students it admits as freshmen.
KU officials asked U.S. News and World Report to break down its analysis to see where KU was ranked on each of the criteria, said Robin Eversole, university relations director.
In all but the academics category, rankings for KU in the other categories were unavailable, she aid.
HOWEVER, Budig's statement said KU scored highly in academic reputation and in strength of faculty, but scored low for selectivity and financial resources.
"Everyone knows that the University of Kansas has done more with less for years," he said. "This is one more objective confirmation that KU's academic achievements are exceptional, given the double challenge of open admissions and highly limited funding."
KU has received high marks in evaluations based on in-depth studies, such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges, the statement says.
"Academics is clearly the most important factor," said Deb Teeter, director of institutional research and planning.
"As you can see, we received a pretty good score for academics, but the selectivity was what really brought us down," she said.