Rice rises to No. 14 in 2018 US News rankings

Picture of Lovett Hall with U.S. News rankings listed above it (No. 14 among national universities, No. 3 for best undergraduate teaching and No. 16 for best value)

Rice University is ranked No. 14 among the best national universities in the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” guidebook, which was published today.

Ranked No. 15 last year, Rice is tied with Brown, Cornell and Vanderbilt universities for No. 14 this year and remains the highest-ranked Texas university in the guidebook. Princeton holds the No. 1 spot.

For the national universities ranking, U.S. News assessed 311 institutions (190 public, 114 private and seven for-profit) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral degrees. Some of them, including Rice, emphasize research. Key measures of quality were based on graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates. U.S. News weighted these variables differently to calculate an overall score for each school.

Rice has been ranked in the top 20 since first appearing in the U.S. News rankings in 1988. In addition to being on the list of best national universities, Rice University is cited on several other lists in the new guidebook:

* Rice is No. 16 on the list of 50 national universities picked as best values. This list of “great schools, great prices” factors in academic quality, as reflected by the school’s U.S. News ranking, and the 2016-17 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.

* Among engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering is in a five-way tie for No. 20 among 69 schools with the best engineering program. These rankings are based on surveys of engineering deans and senior faculty at accredited programs.

* Rice made the list of 42 schools highlighted for having stellar undergraduate research/creative projects. College presidents, chief academic officers and deans of admissions nominated up to 10 institutions from a list of all bachelor’s-granting regionally accredited colleges, and the schools that were named most often in each category were listed alphabetically.

Rice also appeared on several web-exclusive rankings by U.S. News.

* Rice is tied for third place with Brown University among 21 national universities cited for best undergraduate teaching. During the spring 2017 peer assessment survey, college presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to identify up to 10 schools that have a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching, and the schools were ranked in descending order based on the number of nominations they received.

* Rice is one of 39 national universities singled out for having racial and ethnic diversity. U.S. News factored in the proportion of minority students (not including international students) and the overall mix of ethnic groups in the student body for each institution’s 2016-2017 academic year. Rice’s diversity index was 0.69 percent on a scale where 1.0 represents the most diverse student population.

* Rice is one of 26 national universities featured for having economic diversity, as determined by the percentage of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants. Rice had 15 percent, based on Pell recipients during fiscal year 2015-2016 and fall 2015 undergraduate enrollment.

* Rice is one of 45 national universities with the largest proportions of international undergraduate students during the 2016-2017 academic year. Rice had 12 percent.

* Rice is in a four-way tie for No. 15 on the list of national universities that were high school counselors’ top college picks. U.S. News asked high school counselors to take into account the insights they use to direct students to particular colleges, along with their knowledge of each college’s academic record, curriculum, faculty, programs and graduates. These rankings are based on the three most recent years of survey results. Rice’s counselor score was 4.7 — up from 4.6 last year — on a scale where 5 is the highest. According to U.S. News, the survey sample was balanced geographically nationwide and evenly distributed by state.

More information on the 2018 U.S. News rankings can be found at 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.