Rice among top 20 schools in new US News rankings

Rice University is ranked among the top 20 national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 guide to America’s best colleges, just as it has been since Rice first appeared in the U.S. News rankings in 1988.

Lovett HallIn the new edition of “Best Colleges” published today, Rice is tied for No. 18 with the University of Notre Dame among 270 schools classified as national universities – schools that offer a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral degrees and have a strong emphasis on faculty research. Last year Rice and Notre Dame tied for No. 17, along with Vanderbilt University. Princeton is ranked No. 1.

The rankings are based on several key measures of quality: graduation and retention rates, assessment by peers and counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and the graduation rate performance – the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates. U.S. News weighs these variables differently to calculate an overall score for each school.

Besides being among the top 20 national universities and the highest-ranked school in Texas, Rice is among the top 20 schools on a number of other lists in the new guide:
– Rice is No. 14 on the list of best-value schools, which is based on academic quality and the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.
– Rice also is No. 14 on the list of national universities whose students graduate with the least debt and No. 8 among private universities on the list.
– Rice is tied for No. 10 with the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania on the list of national universities demonstrating economic diversity, as determined by the percentage of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants. Seventeen percent of students at Rice received Pell Grants, which are awarded to low-income students.
– Rice is tied for No. 18 with San Diego State University and Texas Woman’s University for racial and ethnic diversity. On a scale in which 1 represents a more diverse student population, each of these three schools scored 0.69.
– Among the best undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a doctorate, Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering is tied with Johns Hopkins University for No. 17.

U.S. News counts high school guidance counselors’ opinions as part of the academic reputation measure for national universities, along with ratings by college admissions deans, provosts and presidents. Rice and seven other schools are tied for No. 21 on the list of 28 top picks by high school counselors.

For more on the U.S. News rankings, visit www.usnews.com/colleges.

Earlier this year, Rice was ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review.

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About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.