Letter to the editor: KU’s decline in the rankings

To the editor:

As the Journal-World reported, KU dropped dramatically in the U.S. News rankings, but its leaders don’t seem very concerned. Some of this is simply demographic, as Kansas is a low-population state with two (or arguably three) flagship institutions and a stingy Legislature.

Consequently, KU accepts nearly 90% of applicants, with nearly a quarter (according to U.S. News) at or below the national ACT mean score of 20. It’s thus little wonder that its six-year graduation rate is only 66%. But U.S. News now has laudably added weight to graduating Pell Grant recipients, and only about half of these students at KU finish in six years. Improving on this dismal record is a serious challenge for the university, which finds itself in a potentially difficult position to compete, especially with neighboring flagships in Missouri and Oklahoma, not to mention Colorado.

While KU’s sinking U.S. News rank likely won’t matter much to the AAU, it may well influence prospective students, especially those from out of state. And since these students bring greater resources and diversity to KU, the drop in rankings could eventually become a bigger problem than university administrators want to acknowledge.

John L. Rury,



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