UCR makes largest gains in college rankings

39-position increase reflects graduates’ success

In an “America’s Best Colleges Report” by the U.S. News and World Report (USNWR), UC Riverside made larger gains than any other university in the United States. According to the 2019 rankings, UCR jumped 39 positions from No. 124 in 2018 to No. 85 in 2019. It is also ranked the No. 35 public university in the nation for 2019.

The USNWR has published these college ranking reports annually since 1987. In order to rank colleges, US News places each school into a category based on its mission, gathers data about each school in up to 16 areas of academic excellence, and ultimately ranks the university based on their overall score. Measured factors include faculty resources, student achievement, and outcomes, the last of which examines a university’s success at retaining and graduating students within six years.

The addition of a social mobility category contributed largely to UCR’s gains. This category analyzes the degree to which a university advances its graduates from the lowest to the highest income brackets. UCR graduates more low-income and Pell Grant students than any other university in the United States. US News eliminated acceptance rate as a factor in order to increase the influence of outcome factors. They also reduced the weight of expert opinions and test scores such as the SAT and ACT.

In an interview with the Highlander, Chancellor Kim Wilcox wrote, “I’m heartened that more university ranking systems are beginning to recognize diversity, social mobility, and student success as hallmarks of a what make a great university — as opposed to exclusivity and wealth as primary measures.” UCR’s rise in the ranks reflects the changing national conversation about higher education, “but by no means is the conversation over,” wrote Wilcox.

USNWR publishes its rankings every September for colleges, encompassing all accredited public and private higher education institutions in the U.S. as well as international schools.

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