UC Davis slipped one spot among public universities in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s much-watched college rankings, released earlier this month, returning to ninth place.
Last year, UCD reached a best-ever eighth place, only to be passed by Penn State University in the new edition. UCD previously held the ninth spot in 2012, 2011 and 1997 editions.
UCD and UC San Diego remain tied among public institutions. The Davis campus also dropped one spot in the magazine’s overall rankings to 39th.
U.S. News’ top seven public universities remain the same as a year ago: UC Berkeley (21st overall), UCLA and the University of Virginia (both 23rd), the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (28th), the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (30th), the College of William and Mary (32nd) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (36th).
Penn State is tied for 37th overall with Case Western University of Ohio.
It was a good year for the top publics: UC Berkeley, UCLA, Virginia and the College of William and Mary each moved up one place overall.
Princeton University took sole possession of first place among national universities after sharing honors with Harvard University a year ago.
Other California institutions in the top 50 are: Stanford University (fifth), the California Institute of Technology (10th), the University of Southern California (23rd), UC Santa Barbara (41st) and UC Irvine (49th).
U.S. News measured colleges on undergraduate academic reputation (22.5 percent), based on peer and high school counselor surveys; retention rate (22.5 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (12.5 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate (7.5 percent); and alumni giving rate (5 percent).
The magazine announced last week that it had again tinkered with its methodology. Among the changes: the “student selectivity” portion of its formula counts for 12.5 percent of a college’s total, down from 15 percent. Within that formula, class rank now counts for 25 percent, not 40 percent, while the value of test scores increased, from 50 to 65 percent.
Retention rates also were given more weight, from 20 to 22.5 percent.
Among the top 50 national universities, 11 reported tuition and fees of less than $15,000 per year, down from 15 a year ago. Of those, six are UC campuses.
North Carolina is the only school under $10,000, charging $8,340 for in-state students.
Thirty-four of the top 50 schools charge more than $40,000 per year annually, yet many are on the magazine’s list of “best value schools.” That list is topped by Harvard, where 59.5 percent of students received need-based aid. The average annual cost after need-based aid is $15,486.
UC Riverside is the only UC campus to make the value list, with 38 percent of its students receiving need-based aid. The average cost to attend after aid: $19,498.
Williams College again topped the magazine’s list of liberal arts colleges.
— Online: www.usnews.com
— Reach Cory Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cory_golden