UConn holds a solid No. 26 spot among public institutions in this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings, demonstrating its continued excellence even as the nationwide higher education landscape has reached extremely competitive levels. .
The rankings released on Monday include strong performance in UConn’s high-priority imperatives assessing student success, including its outstanding student retention rate after first year and its consistently strong six-year graduation rates.
In another key area, UConn graduate debt continues to decline, both in terms of amounts owed and the percentage of students leaving with loans to repay. This underscores UConn’s commitment to providing strong financial aid to qualified students and to striving for economic inclusiveness.
“No ranking fully reflects an institution, but it is a metric that prospective students and families consider when considering their options. Our standing this year is very respectable and UConn remains among the top public universities in the country,” said Radenka Maric, Acting President of UConn.
“That said, we are not satisfied and strongly believe that we must continually make the necessary investments and strategic choices to ensure we rise in the rankings in the years to come,” she said.
UConn’s strong performance in this year’s US News rankings comes despite demographic shifts that have shrunk the country’s high school graduate pools, intensifying competition among institutions; the evolution of state aid and other financial indicators; and other factors, including the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these challenges, UConn has attracted an unprecedented pool of more than 43,000 applicants for the Class of 2026. It welcomed a record 4,075 freshmen starting the academic year at Storrs last month – including more than 27 % are the first generation in their families to go to university – and another 1,750 enrolled in regional campuses.
And while US News doesn’t measure enrollment trends among first-generation students, UConn’s successes in this area and others show that a holistic view is needed to fully measure UConn or any institution beyond. of any single filing system.
“A truly excellent university offers its students the opportunity to discover and pursue their purpose, and to support that exploration with a life-transforming education,” says Maric. “Rankings can help us gauge the quality and breadth of our offerings, but the true measure of success is that our students enter the world ready to live the life they envision for themselves.”
UConn’s ranking has steadily improved since 2000, when it was No. 38 among public institutions, and it has spent the past 10 years in the top 25. It is tied for the No. No. 26 this year with Texas A&M University and UMass-Amherst.
Although UConn’s ranking fell just short of the top 25 this year, it wasn’t due to a drop in performance or a noticeable drop. In fact, UConn scores have remained consistently high in most areas, especially key indicators of student achievement.
On the contrary, several other universities have stepped up their game in recent years and performed better than expected in some areas. These advances, combined with changes in some ranking metrics, have resulted in some institutions knocking others out of the top 25 and some, like UConn, being pushed out.
Although schools struggle to position themselves this way every year, those with better graduation rates than expected by US News have the advantage of being seen as “pushing their weight” and can make noticeable gains in a matter of minutes. years only.
In fact, UConn benefited from this perception as it grew from the 30s to the 20s over the years and settled into its current status in the pantheon of high achievers.
However, as these emerging schools become the direct competitors of UConn, the University will need innovation, flexibility and investment to help it grow from its excellent but stable status to that of a dynamic climber. , according to university officials.
“UConn continues to provide an excellent academic experience that serves our residents and our state well, delivering the best results with the resources available to us,” said Lloyd Blanchard, UConn’s interim executive vice president for administration and financial director.
“We operate in a highly competitive national market, however, and any notable gains made by our competitors will affect UConn’s rankings if we stand still,” he says, noting that if US News and other rankings don’t are not the primary measure of any institution, they do play a role in families’ perceptions of the schools their children might consider attending.
The US News Ranking is one of many tools UConn uses to examine areas for improvement, all of which will help UConn’s next permanent president and his leadership as they engage in new strategic planning to bring the university at the higher level.
This decision-making will also be informed by data from several other internal and independent external research sources, including some recent studies in which the University has stood out for its economic inclusiveness and the return on investment of students in an education. UConn.
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce, which analyzed more than 4,500 institutions across the United States, recently found that a UConn education provides more than 1.52 million dollars in return on investment over a 40-year professional career.
Meanwhile, a recent study by research organization Third Way places UConn in the top tier of schools offering strong economic mobility for students with fiscal constraints.
This level includes the top 20% of institutions that enroll relatively large percentages of low- and middle-income students, as measured by federal Pell Aid eligibility; and whether they provide an education that prepares these students to move up the economic ladder.
UConn is also number one in the nation in the time it takes students to graduate: an average of 4.1 years, a spot shared with four other public research universities nationwide, according to the UConn Retention Task Force. & Graduation of the most recent analysis.
These factors all play into attempts to limit graduate debt, an extent that UConn also scores well in the US News analysis: average debt has fallen by more than $1,800 in the past two years, and went from 56% of alumni with loans to repay. up to 52%.
According to the latest US News rankings, UConn also continues to show strong and consistent performance in several areas:
• First-year student retention is 93%, one of the highest in the country. It has moved between 93% and 94% in recent years, remaining well above the national average of 82% for public four-year universities.
• A consistent 84% of UConn students complete their undergraduate degree in six years or less, which is significantly higher than the national average of 63% among public institutions.
• UConn’s peer institutions also continue to hold positive and stable views of its academic reputation, as indicated in survey responses from presidents, provosts, and admissions officers. US News officials say reputation is important in helping to capture advances that aren’t easily quantified otherwise, such as institutional innovation and a range of other areas.
Another US News ranking measure, the percentage of living alumni who donate to their institutions, accounts for 3% of the total. In the case of UConn, a two-year average of about 7% of living alumni with bachelor’s degrees donated to the University in the reporting period, similar to last year.
Many peer institutions have modest numbers in this category, reflecting generational shifts in how alumni choose to support and engage with their universities.
However, the UConn Foundation recently announced its third straight record year; More than 21,000 donors gave $115 million in new gifts and pledges in FY21, up from the previous record high of $93.3 million the year before.
UConn was one of 227 national public institutions that were part of this year’s US News & World Report survey. Overall, the ranking included 440 public and private institutions, in which UConn shared the No. 67 ranking with four other institutions.