KU climbs 3 spots to 53rd among public universities in newest U.S. News & World Report rankings

A bus whirs by as University of Kansas students wait along Jayhawk Boulevard on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.

The University of Kansas climbed three spots and tied for 53rd among public universities in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings.

KU tied for 115th overall among public and private universities in the rankings, up three places from last year’s rankings. In 2016, KU tied for 56th place among public universities.

“We know that rankings matter because parents and students look to them to see how we’re performing,” Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a KU news release. “Still, our focus remains on broader efforts. We will continue to emphasize improving the student experience, reaching out to the state of Kansas and bolstering our research enterprise.”

In other News & World Report rankings released Tuesday, KU’s undergraduate ranking for the School of Business tied for 27th among public universities, moving up 14 spots from last year’s list.

KU’s School of Engineering lost three spots, settling into a tie for 47th place among public universities. The university also earned a 70th place tie in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category, as well as an 89th ranking in “Best Value Schools.”

KU also tied for 106th place in the rankings of universities recommended by high school counselors.

The university’s overall rise in the rankings, to a 53rd place tie among public universities, follows increased graduation rates in recent years, according to KU’s news release. Improving student retention and graduation through the Office of Undergraduate Studies has been a focus for university leaders lately.

In a statement Tuesday, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi said these efforts were paying off.

“Through the KU Core, which focuses on the total educational experience, and a number of student-support initiatives, we are improving our students’ ability to graduate and to graduate on time,” Bendapudi said in the news release.

U.S. News & World Report publishes graduate school rankings annually in the spring. KU had more than 40 graduate programs ranked among the top 50 public universities in spring 2017’s rankings.

Kansas State University was the only other school in the state to appear in the rankings, tying at 156th in the overall list of “Best Colleges.” K-State also earned 129th place in “Best Value Schools,” 156th place (tie) in high school counselors’ rankings, 73rd place (tie) among “Top Public Schools” and 78th (tie) in “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.”

For a full list of Tuesday’s rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website at www.usnews.com.