North Carolina universities once again feature prominently in U.S. News & World Report‘s oft-cited annual rankings of the nation’s top colleges.
Duke University, Wake Forest University, UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina and Gardner-Webb all placed on the report’s rankings of national universities—a measure often pointed to by higher education leaders in the state.
As The News & Observer points out today:
The magazine rates universities based on hundreds of data points and what it says are 15 measures of academic quality. It produces a number of lists, including The “Best National Universities,” which is the most cited college ranking. U.S. News also breaks down other universities based on mission or regional focus or best financial value, or for business students or engineering students. There’s even a list called “A+ Schools for B Students.”
The rankings have been criticized for fueling a competition that puts too much emphasis on elite colleges in the United States. U.S. News editors emphasize that their analysis primarily takes into account student outcomes such as graduation and retention rates — measures that represent a solid higher education investment for students and their parents.
The N&O’s Jane Stancill offers a handy breakdown of North Carolina universities’ performance as well, highlighting rankings of state colleges, large and small:
Best national liberal arts colleges
Davidson College, near Charlotte, ranked 10th. Salem College (117th), UNC Asheville (141st), Guilford College and Warren Wilson College (tied for 160th) and Meredith College (163rd) also made the list.
Best regional universities (South)
These schools have undergraduate and master’s programs, but few doctoral offerings. Elon University was first in the South. Also ranked: Appalachian State (9th), UNC Wilmington (14th), Queens University of Charlotte (20nd), Campbell University (27th), Wingate University (32nd), Western Carolina University (38th), Lenoir Rhyne University (61st), N.C. Central University (80th), Methodist University (85th), Elizabeth City State University and Pfeiffer University (tied for 87th), UNC Pembroke (102nd) and Winston-Salem State University (tied for 106th).
Best regional colleges (South)
This looks at schools that focus almost entirely on undergraduate programs. High Point University was first in the South. Also ranked: Catawba College (4th), Barton College and Belmont Abbey College (tied for 8th), Lees-McRae College and University of Mount Olive (tied for 19th), Brevard College (21st), Mars Hill University (24th), Bennett College (25th), Greensboro College (44th), N.C. Wesleyan College (46th), Chowan University and St. Augustine’s University (tied for 50th).