Purdue named top 20 public university by U.S. News & World Report

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus remains among the best public universities in the country, according to the most recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News on Tuesday released its 2018 best college rankings, reviewing U.S. schools in several areas, most notably for best national and public universities and liberal arts colleges.

Purdue’s flagship campus came in at No. 18 for best public university, up slightly from last year’s 20th placement. The University of California, Berkeley, placed first.

West Lafayette also came in strong when stacked against all national universities — public, private and for-profit institutions. It ranked 56th, up four places from last year, among 311 schools. Princeton University was named No. 1.

Last fall, Purdue was named fourth best public college in the U.S. by a new ranking from the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. It came in at No. 37 among all private and public institutions.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels praised the ranking’s methodology, which placed greater weight on student outcomes compared to other rankings, such as U.S. News, which he criticized for placing too much emphasis on selectivity in the admissions process.

Daniels on Monday said he hadn’t yet reviewed the newest U.S. News rankings, but remains critical of its methodology.

“We would rather be judged on not how many we turn away, but how many we turn out,” he said.

Daniels also questioned the validity of the ranking’s measurement of academic reputation, which is based on assessments by administrators from peer universities and high school counselors.

Student selectivity, including ACT/SAT scores, makes up 12.5 percent of the U.S. News rankings. Student outcomes, including retention and graduation rates, is the largest factor in the rankings, accounting for 30 percent. Peer assessment accounts for 22.5 percent; faculty resources is 20 percent; financial resources is 10 percent; and alumni giving is 5 percent.

New this year, U.S. News shifted its analysis of schools’ predicted graduation rates — a factor in the student outcome category — to create a more even playing field. For the national universities category only, the analysis included the proportion of science, technology, engineering and math degrees out of the total degrees granted. According to U.S. News, this aims to “account for the greater difficulty STEM focused schools typically have in achieving high graduation rates.”

More U.S. News Purdue rankings

Purdue’s Krannert School of Management placed 24th for best undergraduate business program, down one spot from the prior year, and came in fifth for its specialty in production and operations management.

Purdue also ranked eighth among the top engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, up one place from last year. Additionally, it was first for biological/agricultural engineering and fourth for industrial/manufacturing engineering. 

Purdue was named 12th most innovative university, down three places from last year. The rankings were based on peer nominations and reviewed what schools are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

The university was No. 24 for best national university for veterans, based on the enrollment of and benefits for veterans and active-duty service members.

Reach Journal & Courier reporter Meghan Holden at [email protected] or 765-420-5205.

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