Fordham has climbed five places in the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s“America’s Best Colleges” issue.
The online component of the magazine, which went live on Aug. 17, ranks Fordham at No. 56 among the 262 most prestigious national—or “top-tier”—universities.
The newest placement highlights a dramatic rise from 84th place in 2002. The University shares the 56th position with Boston University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Georgia and the University of Maryland-College Park.
Fordham was ranked fourth among national Catholic universities, behind Notre Dame, Georgetown and Boston College.
“Fordham’s continued climb in the U.S. News & World Report rankings is gratifying, of course,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “The magazine’s designation as one of the nation’s best colleges comes once a year, but it speaks to the day-in, day-out labor and attention of faculty and staff, students and trustees—labor that is no less heroic for being largely unsung.”
“While the University is justly proud of its national reputation and attendant high rankings, Fordham’s most lasting legacies are the men and women educated here, and the research produced by our dedicated and talented faculty,” Father McShane said. “The Fordham community’s sustained work in the service of our mission is humbling and the U.S. News ranking is welcome recognition of that effort.”
The University’s emphasis on undergraduate research may have contributed to its good showing in a relatively new category, “Undergraduate Academic Reputation,” where it earned a score of 68 out of 100.
The U.S. News rankings come two weeks after Fordham boosted its academic and quality-of-life ratings in the 2011 version of The Princeton Review’s influential college guide: The Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition.
Fordham also earned the distinction of being one of eight schools in the top tier that has no more than 1 percent of its classes larger than 50 students. In fact, 50 percent of the University’s classes had 20 students or fewer.
In addition to its higher rank, Fordham saw rises in several individual categories:
• Average freshman SAT scores jumped from 1228 to 1240.
• Alumni giving rose from 22 to 23 percent participation.
• Freshman retention increased from 89 to 90 percent.
These and other categories helped contribute to the University’s overall score of 53, up three points from last year.
The magazine defines top-tier national universities as those that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees, often with an emphasis on research. The top category is based on guidelines from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and includes 164 public and 98 private institutions.
U.S. News uses a proprietary methodology that ranks more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools based on a set of 16 indicators of academic quality.
Among the key measures of quality the magazine factors are peer assessments, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and student selectivity.