Rice moves up to No. 15 in US News rankings

Rice University moved up to No. 15 among the best national universities and remained the highest-ranked among universities in Texas in the 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” guidebook published today.

photo of Lovett Hall is a "No. 15" badgeU.S. News compared the quality of nearly 300 national universities that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral programs and that emphasize faculty research. Quality was measured by graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence by academic peers and high school guidance counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, percentage of alumni giving and graduation rate performance — the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates. U.S. News weighed these variables differently to calculate an overall score for each school.

Ranked No. 18 last year, Rice University is now tied for No. 15 with Cornell University, University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University. Rice has been ranked in the top 20 since first appearing in the U.S. News rankings in 1988. The No. 1 spot is held by Princeton University.

Besides being ranked among the best national universities, Rice appeared on a few other lists in the new U.S. News guidebook:

* Rice is No. 14 among 50 national universities ranked as best values. Criteria for the list of “great schools, great prices” included academic quality and the 2015-2016 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

* Among undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a doctorate, Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering is in a six-way tie for No. 18 on the list of top 74 engineering programs.

Rice also appeared on all seven of U.S. News’ 2017 web-exclusive rankings and lists:

* Rice is in a three-way tie for No. 19 on the list of 22 national universities selected as “most innovative schools.” The schools on this list were picked by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans asked to nominate up to 10 schools that are making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

* Rice is No. 5 on the list of 20 national universities with a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. The rankings reflect schools cited most often by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans who were asked to identify up to 10 schools where faculty have an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.

* Rice is in a three-way tie for No. 20 on the list of 41 top national universities chosen by public and private high school counselors as their top college picks. The high school counselors’ input is factored separately from the peer assessment ratings by college admissions deans, provosts and presidents. The counselors were asked to take into account the insights they use to direct students to particular colleges and their general knowledge about these schools, including academic record, curriculum, faculty, programs and graduates. The counselors also rated the quality of a school’s undergraduate academic programs. The survey sample was balanced geographically nationwide and evenly distributed by state.

* Rice is one of 26 national universities identified as valuing economic diversity, based on the percentage of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants. During 2014-2015, 16 percent of students at Rice received Pell Grants, which are awarded to students with a family income under $20,000.

* With 12 percent international students, Rice is on a list of 40 schools with the largest proportions of international undergrads during the 2015-2016 academic year.

* In a section that spotlights outstanding examples of academic programs, Rice is one of 36 schools noted for undergraduate research or creative projects that result in an original scholarly paper or product that can be formally presented on or off campus.

* Rice is in a four-way tie for No. 6 on a list of 100 best national universities for veterans. Eligibility for this list requires a ranking among the top half of the best national universities, certification for the GI Bill, participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans and at least 20 fall 2015 enrolled students using GI Bill benefits to fund their tuition and fees.

For more on the U.S. News rankings, visit http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges.



About B.J. Almond

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