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UConn among top public schools, says U.S. News &World Report
August 29, 1997

The University of Connecticut is among the top 20 public institutions in the country, according to the latest rankings of the nation's best colleges published by U.S. News &World Report.

Rated 20th nationally, the University is one of only a handful of institutions in the northeast to make the U.S. News ranking of the top 25 national public universities. This is the first time the top public universities have been listed as a separate category in the news magazine's rankings, available at newsstands this week.

UConn is the top-rated public university in New England, ahead of the University of Vermont - the only other New England institution in the top 25 - in the number 22 spot. Other high-ranked institutions in the northeast were: Penn State (12th), Rutgers (16th), SUNY-Binghamton (tied with UConn), and the University of Delaware (25th). The University of Virginia heads the list, which also includes seven institutions in the University of California system.

"We are seen as being a solid academic institution, ranked among the best universities in the country," says Chancellor and Provost for University Affairs Mark Emmert. "We are competing head-to-head with the best institutions out there."

Emmert notes that UConn ranked ahead of Ohio State and Colorado, and only just behind Minnesota, Washington and Texas A&M, five of the most prominent research universities in the country.

UConn also was rated among the top 50 in the best values ranking, a list of schools that offer a high quality education at reasonable cost, coming in 41st.

Each year U.S. News rates 1,400 accredited four-year colleges, based on data including retention and graduation rates, quality of students, and alumni giving. Twenty-five percent of the ranking is based on a survey of the school's reputation among high-ranking officials of other colleges.

"The rankings are a function of a variety of different measures," says Emmert. "Many of those variables rose in the last couple of years. The rankings lag behind, by a year or two at least, what's happening on the ground at the University. They are just now reflecting the changes."

Emmert says that although there is skepticism about the value of college rankings, they do influence students and their families in choosing a college.

"We have to look at any poll with a good bit of skepticism. They all have their frailties and they all have their strengths," he says. "The U.S. News & World Report is the most popularly read one and it's probably the most influential."

He anticipates the U.S. News ranking will have a positive effect on enrollment: "This will certainly impress students who are looking at institutions nationally and trying to find out what institutions are high quality and most competitive, and therefore most desirable."

Kathy Usher, scholarship coordinator, agrees: "Students will apply to UConn because of our ranking in U.S. News &World Report. As a recruiter of top high school scholars, I am thrilled with this help."

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu