Latest Stab at Comprehensive Ranking Has U.Va. as No. 3 Public University

February 12, 2015

The latest attempt at formulating a comprehensive, numbers-based ranking of colleges and universities came up with a familiar conclusion: the University of Virginia is among the top public universities in the United States.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based The Business Journals, publisher of 40 U.S. newspapers, on Wednesday issued a ranking of 484 public colleges and universities, based upon a 19-factor formula. U.Va. ranked third in the country, continuing its strong showing in national rankings.

The Business Journals’ ranking was the second this month to rate U.Va. highly. On Feb. 3, the Princeton Review named U.Va. as the top public university for affordability, academics and career prospects.

Previously, U.S. News & World Report ranked U.Va. as the nation’s No. 2 public university, as did Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in its “best value” rankings. Forbes magazine rated U.Va. No. 4 among publics.

Taken together, the latter three rankings, plus Washington Monthly’s ranking, constituted one of the 19 factors in The Business Journals’ formula, accounting for 15 percent of the total score.

“The highest marks went to schools with highly selective admissions processes, strong retention and graduation rates, prestigious reputations, affordable tuitions and housing costs, diverse faculties and student bodies, and economically robust communities,” the business media company wrote in announcing the rankings.

U.Va. trailed only the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in The Business Journals’ ranking.

After U.Va., the College of William & Mary was next in line at No. 4, highlighting a strong showing from Virginia’s public colleges and universities. Seven Virginia schools placed in the top 87 in the nation, and 11 were in the top half. The other top-100 Virginia schools: Virginia Tech (No. 24), James Madison University (No. 39), George Mason University (No. 62), the University of Mary Washington (No. 67) and Virginia Military Institute (No. 87).

The ranking groups the 19 factors into six broader categories (methodology explained here). U.Va. earned perfect five-star ratings in “selectivity” (admissions factors, worth 15 percent of the total score) “advancement” (which measures retention and graduation rates, worth 25 percent), “prestige” (other publication rankings, worth 15 percent), and “community” (including various employment and demographic factors, worth 10 percent). It earned four stars in “costs” (including quality-affordability ratios, financial aid and housing, worth 20 percent) and three stars in “diversity” (which includes racial and gender diversity of students and faculty, plus the share of out-of-state students, worth 15 percent).

Media Contact

Anthony P. de Bruyn

University Spokesperson Office of University Communications