UNC 5th Among Public Universities Again

UNC 5th Among Public Universities Again

CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina ranks fifth among the nation's best public universities for the 13th consecutive year, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The rankings appear today (Sept. 10) in the 2014 "America's Best Colleges" guidebook and at www.usnews.com.

Among national public universities, UC-Berkeley ranked first, followed by UCLA and Virginia (tied for second), Michigan (fourth) and UNC (fifth); the same order as for the past two years.

Among both national public and private universities, UNC ranked 30th overall, the same as last year. Other publics were between tied for 20th (Berkeley) and 28th (Michigan). Among the top five publics, overall composite scores remained the same at Berkeley (79) and Michigan (74) and went down one point at UCLA and Virginia (76), followed by UNC (72).

U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality, weighted as follows: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), assessment by peers and counselors (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (difference between actual and predicted graduation rates, 7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent). 

Other U.S. News rankings results for UNC included the following:

• 1st among national public universities for the 9th consecutive year and 17th overall in "Great Schools, Great Prices," based on academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student  receiving the average level of need-based financial aid in 2012-2013. Forty-two percent of UNC undergraduates received need-based aid in 2012. Carolina meets 100 percent of the documented need of undergraduates qualifying for need-based aid who apply on time.

• Second among publics and 7th overall for least debt, with 35 percent of students graduating with debt and an average amount of $16,983.

• A 97 percent average first-year retention rate for the fifth consecutive year.

• An 89 percent average six-year graduation rate, 3 percentage points better than U.S. News predicted. (UNC's four-year rate graduation is nearly 81 percent.)

• Thirteen percent of course sections enrolled 50 or more students, holding at the same number as last year. That remains the lowest rate among the other top publics for the sixth year in a row. Thirty-seven percent of UNC's course sections enrolled fewer than 20 students, up from 33 percent. Berkeley led the top publics at 63 percent.

• Ranked 68th overall and fourth among the top publics in faculty resources. UNC was 70th last year, 59th two years ago, 47th three years ago, 35th four years ago and 50th five years ago. This category measures undergraduate class size; two academic years (2011-12 and 2012-13) of average total faculty compensation (salary and benefits) based on indexes weighted for regional differences; student-faculty ratio; and percentage of faculty who are full time and earned their field's highest degree.

• Tied for second among publics and 21st overall in high school counselors' picks.

• 7th among the best undergraduate business programs. Among specialty areas, Kenan-Flagler Business School ranked fifth in management.

• Listed among outstanding undergraduate programs with "A Focus on Student Success." Carolina was cited for exemplary first-year experience (seminars and other programs bringing small groups of students together regularly with faculty and staff), undergraduate research/creative projects, study abroad and service learning.