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September 17, 2015

Pitt drops 4 places in U.S. News listing

Pitt ranked No. 24 among public schools and tied for No. 66 overall among national universities in the 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, falling four slots in each category.

In the national university rankings, Pitt fell from No. 20 among public schools and dropped from No. 62 overall to tie at No. 66 with Fordham University and Brigham Young University.

The 2016 rankings, which included 1,376 colleges and universities, were released Sept. 9.

The publication bases its national university rankings on: assessment by high school counselors and administrators at peer institutions (weighted 22.5 percent); student retention (22.5 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (12.5 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance (7.5 percent); and alumni giving (5 percent).

According to U.S. News, two small changes were made in this year’s calculation of ranking indicators: to reduce the effect of year-to-year volatility, academic peer scores are based on the two most recent sets of survey results; and to compute the high school counselor rating score, the three most recent years’ results were averaged (up from two).

National university rankings

The top five national universities remained unchanged from the 2015 ranking: Princeton ranked No. 1, followed by Harvard, Yale and, in a three-way tie for No. 4, Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Massachusetts Institute of Technology at No. 7, Duke at No. 8, Penn at No. 9 and California Institute of Technology tied with Johns Hopkins at No. 10.

U.S. News defines as national universities those institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and emphasize faculty research.

Top public schools

The University of California-Berkeley was No. 1 among public schools in the 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, followed by UCLA, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Completing the top 10 were the College of William and Mary, No. 6; Georgia Institute of Technology, No. 7; UC-Santa Barbara, No. 8; UC-Irvine and UC-San Diego tied for No. 9.

Pitt’s ranking

The University’s average freshman retention rate was 92 percent, based on freshmen who entered in fall 2010-fall 2013. The six-year graduation rate was 82 percent, based on classes who started fall 2005-fall 2007.

Pitt’s student-faculty ratio is 14.1. Slightly more than 40 percent of Pitt classes have fewer than 20 students while 20 percent have 50 or more students. Ninety percent of faculty at Pitt are full-time.

Total enrollment in 2014 was 28,617, down slightly from 28,649 in the prior year. Pitt’s fall 2014 acceptance rate was 53.1 percent; its 25th-75th percentile SAT/ACT scores were 1180-1360.

Pennsylvania national university rankings

Penn was the highest ranked of the 11 Pennsylvania schools on the 2016 best colleges list of national universities, followed by: Carnegie Mellon (No. 23); Penn State-University Park and Lehigh (tied at No. 47); Pitt (No. 66); Drexel (No. 99); Temple and Duquesne (tied at No.115); Immaculata (No. 161); Widener (No. 187); and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (no numerical ranking).

Undergraduate business and engineering school rankings

The 2016 best colleges also ranked undergrad business and engineering programs based on 2015 peer assessments.

Pitt’s undergraduate business program held steady at No. 39. In the current ranking, Pitt tied with Boston University, Case Western Reserve and William and Mary.

Penn ranked No. 1, followed by MIT and UC-Berkeley (tied at No. 2), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor at No. 4 and NYU at No. 5.
Pitt did not appear in any of the 12 business specialty rankings.


Pitt’s undergraduate engineering program held firm at No. 51 among schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. Sharing Pitt’s No. 51 spot were Boston University, Northeastern, Rutgers and the University of Arizona.

MIT and Stanford tied for the No. 1 spot, followed by UC-Berkeley at No. 3, California Institute of Technology at No. 4 and University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign at No. 5.

Among a dozen engineering specialties ranked by U.S. News, Pitt’s biomedical engineering placed No. 21, tied with University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign. Pitt’s ranking fell from No. 19 a year ago.

Best colleges for veterans

On the U.S. News list of best colleges for veterans, Pitt tied with Fordham University at No. 55.

To be included in the rankings, institutions must be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Veterans Administration’s yellow ribbon program, or be a public institution that charges in-state tuition rates to all out-of-state veterans. Qualifying schools are ranked based on their 2016 Best Colleges ranking.

—Kimberly K. Barlow     

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 2

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