U of A Moves Up in U.S. News 'Best Colleges 2020' Rankings Among Public Institutions

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas jumped six spots to tie for 72nd place among public universities in the U.S. News and World Report "Best Colleges 2020" rankings.

"Student success is our top priority, and increasing retention and graduation rates is core to that mission, as it benefits our students and our state," Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said. "Our peer assessment scores also increased to an all-time high, which is very encouraging. But the number that pleases me the most is the narrowing of the gap between our predicted and actual graduation rates. That gap was 8 percent last year and this year it's 1 percent, with an actual graduation rate of 66 percent. That's real progress."

The predicted graduation rate is determined by a formula based on the academic assessment of an incoming class and is later compared to the actual graduation rate of that same class.

"Our goal is to not only close the gap between predicted and actual graduation rates, but to actually graduate students at a higher rate than their predicted rate," Steinmetz said. "That will show that the hard work of our faculty and staff, our increased efforts to provide scholarship support and our continued focus on enhancing our academic support system is really paying off."

Advancing student success is one of the university's eight guiding priorities and a comprehensive strategy is being implemented to maximize student success. A key component of that strategy is the construction of a Student Success Center that will unify, enhance and fully realize the alignment of a personalized academic, financial and social support system for students. A groundbreaking ceremony for the center is planned later this week.

The U of A is once again ranked as one of U.S. News' "Best Value Schools," holding the 71st spot among public institutions, and is ranked 63rd among publics in the "Best Colleges for Veterans" category.

The Sam M. Walton College of Business remained among the top 30 public business schools in the nation for the 17th year in a row, ranked 27th among public and 43rd among all business colleges. The College of Engineering is ranked 56th among publics, 93rd overall.

U.S. News added 80 institutions to its National University pool this year due to the latest adjustments of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Despite the increase in the number of schools competing for national rankings, many of which are private institutions that tend to fare better in these rankings, the U of A moved up from 78th to 72nd among publics and only dropped one spot, from 152nd to 153rd among public and private institutions.

The U of A has held the highest Carnegie Classification of "Research 1" – Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity since 2011. It is the only university in Arkansas and among just 2.7 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities to hold that designation.

Among public institutions, the U of A is tied with the University of Alabama and LSU.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Amy L. Schlesing, executive director of strategic communications
University Relations
479-575-3033, amys@uark.edu


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