Penn Seventh in U.S. News Rankings

In the ever-fluctuating U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities issued in August, Penn dropped from fourth place to seventh. Caltech, Stanford, and MIT each moved ahead of the University in a three-way tie for fourth, while the top three spots were occupied by Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. Wharton’s undergraduate business program held on to first place, though its graduate program dropped one notch, to third, in the magazine’s April rankings of graduate schools. The School of Medicine moved up one spot to No. 3, while both the Law School and the Graduate School of Education ranked seventh. The School of Engineering and Applied Science dropped from 29 to 32.

The annual rankings are based on 15 “indicators of academic quality,” as U.S. News calls them, including student/faculty ratio, freshman-retention rate, graduation rate, performance of entering students in SAT/ACT tests, and alumni giving.

“While we do not take the U.S. News & World Reportand other rankings too seriously,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann, “we understand that they generate great interest by prospective students and their parents. We therefore are pleased to be ranked as one of the very best research universities in the country.

“The most striking fact is the one-point overall spread between four universities,” she added. “Penn’s overall score is 93 as compared to the score of 94 (out of 100) assigned to the schools with a share of fourth place. Several indicators cited by U.S. News reflected improvement at Penn since last year’s rankings, including the SAT/ACT scores. But the percentage of full-time faculty declined by 1 percent and the proportion of classes with more than 50 students increased by 1 percent, which most likely accounted for the small decline in ranking. These are both worth our attention.”

In other rankings, Penn tied for first (with the University of Southern California) in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students’ rankings of gay-friendly campuses; Hispanic Magazine rated it fifth among the nation’s top colleges for Latinos; and Black Enterprise ranked Penn ninth for African Americans. In Washington Monthly’s second annual rankings, which purport to measure how much different schools are “benefiting the country,” Penn came in at 30th among national universities.

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