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University Jumps in Influential College Ratings


Fordham moved up from 67th to 61st place as a national university in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue, which hit newsstands on Monday, Aug. 25. This ranking places Fordham competitively among the nation’s 262 most prestigious universities and underscores a dramatic five-year climb from 84th place in 2002.

In addition to overall score, Fordham bettered its rating in nearly all other categories, including acceptance rate, peer assessment, class size, SAT scores, student retention rate and alumni giving.

Graph by Dawn Jasper

“Fordham’s listing in U.S. News and World Report is naturally gratifying,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “The annual designation as one of the nation’s best colleges is a welcome recognition of what the University does day in and day out: prepare its students intellectually and spiritually not just for careers, but for lives as men and women fully engaged with the world around them.

“Something I want to emphasize is that the continued rise in the University’s national reputation is the result of the sustained effort and devotion of many faculty and staff, and of course the hard work of the students themselves,” he continued. “I am both proud of and grateful for the dedication and the daily, largely anonymous, efforts of every member of the Fordham community.”

The University shares its 61st-place ranking with Clemson University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

U.S. News’ ranking survey, which first appeared in 1983, is one of the most influential among several higher education comparisons undertaken annually by publishers such as Barron’s and the Princeton Review. The magazine uses categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in order to measure schools. Fordham was ranked in the category of “national universities”—those that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and that emphasize faculty research.

The annual survey uses up to 15 indicators of excellence, each assigned a different weight. Data for Fordham showed healthy gains in two of the more heavily weighted categories, as the number of full-time faculty rose from 73 to 80 percent, and the graduation rate climbed from 78 to 80 percent. In addition, median SAT scores of incoming freshmen climbed 40 points, and Fordham’s student acceptance rate dipped to 42 percent from 47.

Repeating its performance from last year, Fordham maintained the distinction of being among only four top-tier schools that virtually avoided class sizes of 50 or more students, holding such classes to just 1 percent.

Fordham’s rating also rose slightly in the most heavily weighted category, peer assessment, which takes into account subjective opinions from university presidents, provosts and deans. The category is designed to measure intangible aspects of a university’s program, such as faculty dedication to teaching.

The average alumni giving rate went from 19 to 21 percent.

Fordham was ranked fourth among Catholic universities, behind the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown and Boston College, respectively. U.S. News also surveyed guidance counselors from its “America’s Best High Schools” list on which national universities offered the best education to their students: Fordham was tied for 34th place nationally, along with University of California–Davis, George Washington University and Boston University, among others.

The magazine compiled its data from more than 1,450 accredited four-year schools, both public and private.

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