KU falls 8 spots in annual ranking of ‘Best Colleges’

photo by: Richard Gwin

Students move along Jayhawk Boulevard on the KU campus between classes on Wednesday January 27, 2016.

The University of Kansas dropped eight spots in its ranking among public universities in the 2019 edition of the “Best Colleges,” which U.S. News & World Report released Monday.

Last year, KU had moved up to the 53rd spot, which was three points higher than the prior year. It’s now at 61st.

“We know that rankings are often a useful tool for students and families, and we certainly want to perform well in these annual reports,” Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a press release from the university. “At the same time, rankings are one of the many ways we measure our success. We will continue to focus our efforts to improve the student experience, serve the state of Kansas and bolster our research enterprise, knowing it can take time before our efforts are reflected in these rankings.”

This year, according to the news release, the magazine announced changes in how it calculated its overall rankings, removing some items like colleges’ acceptance rates and reducing the weight of other factors, including standardized tests and high school class standing. It also added new elements that seek to measure social mobility, including graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients.

KU tied with five other public schools in the overall ranking. Those schools included the University of Alabama, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Texas-Dallas.

Several Big 12 Conference schools ranked higher than KU, including the University of Texas-Austin at 15th, Iowa State University at 56th and the University of Oklahoma at 58th. Kansas State University was ranked at 75th, Oklahoma State University at 80th, Texas Tech at 100th and West Virginia University at 112th.

In its release, KU said it was continuing to work to improve in a number of areas, including retention and graduation rates.

“KU faculty and staff continue to move the needle in a positive direction on metrics that contribute to student success and, ultimately, alumni career success,” Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor, said in the release.

“Our efforts are ensuring more students advance in their degree programs and that more students graduate in a timely manner,” Lejuez said.

In other rankings published Monday, the KU School of Business’ undergraduate program tied for 39th among public schools, and the School of Engineering’s undergraduate program tied for 48th among public schools.

KU also ranked 30th among public schools on the magazine’s Best Value Schools list, according to the release.

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