KU stays stable in latest U.S. News and World Report rankings

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

On the first day of fall classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a class takes place outside of Budig Hall at the University of Kansas on the morning of Aug. 24, 2020.

The University of Kansas fell one spot to 60th among public universities, but moved up six spots among all universities in the 2021 edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of best colleges released Monday.

The rankings from the online media company that analyzes and ranks numerous aspects of American society are highly touted among universities, though they have faced criticisms from higher education experts for promoting gamesmanship among universities and motivating them to focus on achieving benchmarks to improve their ranking status rather than on other metrics.

In addition to its 60th slot among public universities, KU now sits at 124th among all education institutions. In a news release Monday, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod attributed the consistency in a turbulent time for higher education to efforts the university has taken to improve freshman retention rates and the rate of six-year graduations.

“We recognize the importance of these rankings, particularly among prospective students and families,” Girod said. “At the same time, we remain focused on a broader set of metrics to measure our success … Our faculty and staff continue to do the work necessary to ensure more of our students remain on track to advance in their degree programs and graduate in a timely way,” Girod said.

“In the age of COVID-19, it will be especially important to continue our work to create flexible, dynamic educational opportunities that enable us to meet students wherever they are,” he said.

In other rankings released Monday, KU’s School of Business ranked 42nd and the School of Engineering ranked 54th among public university programs. U.S. News & World Report releases graduate school rankings in the spring.

In the most recent edition of those rankings, KU had nine programs in the top 10 and 48 programs ranked in the top 50 among public universities, according to Monday’s news release.

Other Kansas Board of Regents institutions in the state were ranked as follows:

• Kansas State University: 83rd among public institutions, 170th among all universities

• Wichita State University: Ranked between 154 and 209 among public institutions and between 289 and 389 among all universities

• Washburn University: Ranked between 154 and 209 among public institutions and between 289 and 389 among all universities

Fort Hays State University, Emporia State University and Pittsburg State University were not listed in the organization’s rankings.

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