|Carolina ranks as 5th best public university for 9th consecutive year|
|Thursday, August 20, 2009|
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks fifth among the nation’s best public universities for the ninth consecutive year in the latest U.S. News & World Report magazine list.
The rankings appear in the 2010 edition of the “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook and will be posted at www.usnews.com Thursday (Aug. 20) at 12:01 a.m.
UC-Berkeley ranked first among public universities, followed by UCLA and Virginia (tied for second), Michigan (fourth) and Carolina (fifth). Among public and private national universities, UNC ranked 28th, tied with Tufts and Wake Forest universities. Other top public campuses ranked overall between 21st (Berkeley) and 27th (Michigan). Last year, UNC was 30th and tied for 28th the previous year with Tufts.
The rankings – dominated by private universities – are based in part on a formula using opinion survey responses about academic quality from peer campus presidents, provosts or admissions officials. Objective data cover 15 indicators of academic quality in areas such as student graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and credentials, class size, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Other U.S. News rankings assess affordability, commitment to undergraduate teaching (a new category this year), undergraduate business school programs and innovative undergraduate programs. UNC results included the following:
• 1st among public universities for the 5th consecutive year and 14th overall in “Great Schools, Great Prices,” based on academic quality, best value and the net cost of attendance for a student receiving average need-based financial aid in 2008-2009.
• 16th among publics for “least debt” and 24th – the same as last year – overall. Average student debt was $14,936 for UNC’s class of 2008; 32 percent of graduating seniors borrowed.
• Tied with Michigan for 6th among publics and tied for 11th overall for “a strong commitment to teaching” based on peer assessments of which campuses have faculty with an unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching.
• 35th for faculty resources – UNC’s best showing in this category over the past decade. That’s up from 50th the last two years and 40th in 2006. This category, which counts 20 percent of the overall ranking, measures undergraduate class size; two years (2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years) of average total faculty compensation (salary and benefits) based on indexes compiled by a consultant and weighted for regional differences; student-faculty ratio; and percentage of faculty who are full time and have earned their field’s highest degree. The other four top publics ranged from 35 (Virginia) to 74 (Michigan) in this category.
• A 97 percent average first-year retention rate – up 1 percent from last year and comparable to results since 1999.
• An 88 percent average six-year graduation rate – up 5 percentage points from last year. UNC’s four-year rate is about 77 percent; U.S. News reports six-year rates.
• 44 percent of course sections enrolled fewer than 20 students, while 11 percent of course sections enrolled 50 or more students, the best mark among the top five publics.
• Tied for 6th among the best undergraduate business programs. Kenan-Flagler Business School tied for 6th with Texas at Austin and Virginia. Kenan-Flagler’s marketing and management specialties both ranked 4th.
• Listed among the “Programs to Look For,” highlighting outstanding academic programs that lead to student success. Carolina was cited for exemplary first-year experience (seminars and other programs regularly bringing small groups of students together with faculty and staff) and undergraduate research/creative projects.