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St. Thomas Improves Again in U.S. News Rankings

St. Thomas has improved for the fourth consecutive year in the annual “Best Colleges” rankings published by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

The university ranks No. 112 among 281 schools in the National Universities category, an improvement from No. 113 a year ago, No. 115 in 2011, No. 124 in 2010 and No. 137 in 2009. The ranking is the highest in the 13 years that St. Thomas has been in that category.

“We don’t make decisions because of rankings,” said President Julie Sullivan, “but I am pleased that we continue to show improvement in the U.S. News survey.”

St. Thomas also was ranked in three other areas:

  • It is an “A Plus School for B Students” (as were 11 other Minnesota schools), also for the fourth year in a row. These schools, the magazine says, are “where non-superstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving – where spirit and hard work could make all the difference to admissions offices.”
  • The School of Engineering undergraduate program ranks No. 81 among 203 schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees but not doctorates. The survey was based solely on peer assessment – deans and senior faculty ranking each others’ programs – and only schools with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology were eligible.
  • The Opus College of Business undergraduate program ranks No. 119 among 388 programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of business. The survey also was based solely on peer assessment. Last March, U.S. News ranked St. Thomas No. 110 of 494 AACSB-accredited schools in a separate “best business schools” ranking that included graduate programs.

U.S. News announced the rankings today (Tuesday). They will be published on the magazine’s website and in the 2014 print edition of the “Best Colleges” guidebook, which will be available Sept. 24 on newsstands.

The magazine’s published findings do not explain why St. Thomas moved up in the rankings, which are based on seven measures: assessment by peers and counselors (22.5 percent of overall score), graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent).

National Universities are defined as offering a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. Princeton is in the top spot, and the University of Minnesota is tied for No. 69. Among Catholic universities in this category, Notre Dame (No. 18), Georgetown (20), Boston College (31), Fordham (57), Marquette (75), San Diego (91), and Chicago Loyola and St. Louis (both 101) rank higher than St. Thomas. Dayton also is No. 112, and Catholic universities ranked lower than St. Thomas include San Francisco, Catholic, DePaul, Duquesne, Seton Hall, St. John’s of New York and St. Mary’s of Winona.

All other Minnesota colleges are ranked in three other institutional categories: 248 National Liberal Arts Colleges, which emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences; 621 Regional Universities, which provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs; and 367 Regional Colleges, which focus on undergraduate education but grant less than half of their degrees in the arts and sciences.