The University at Buffalo climbed two spots in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings, joining two other State University of New York campuses at No. 97 on the list of "Best National Universities."
UB was one of six universities at No. 97, including Rochester Institute of Technology, Stony Brook, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Vermont. It is UB's highest ranking and the fourth year in a row the university either improved its standing from the previous year or stayed the same. Binghamton University, at No. 87, was the highest rated among SUNY universities.
Princeton University retained the top spot overall, followed by Harvard University at No. 2 and the University of Chicago and Yale University tied for No. 3. The rankings were released Tuesday as part of the 2017 edition of the magazine's annual survey of "America's Best Colleges." The full list is available at https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges.
UB improved on several metrics tracked by the magazine, including reputational ranking by university peers, increase in SAT scores, increase in number of classes of fewer than 20 students and higher graduation rate.
“UB continues to invest in undergraduate education and student services – from our new undergraduate curriculum to our state-of-the-art Silverman Library – which have significantly enhanced the academic experience at UB," said Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. "We are pleased to receive national recognition for our academic programs.”
The magazine examined 1,800 colleges and universities across the country on factors such as graduation and retention rates, class sizes, admission test scores, alumni giving and per-student spending on instruction.
The rankings remain influential among students and parents, who rely on them to guide their choice of school, as well as among colleges and universities, which use them to market their campuses and programs and attract students, faculty and philanthropic dollars. But the rankings also increasingly have come under fire by critics who say the magazine's metrics reward wealthy and selective schools and fail to measure an institution's actual effectiveness. A report this week by Politico revealed how the rankings create incentives for schools to game the ranking system by favoring wealthier students over less wealthy applicants. It also showed to what lengths administrators will go to improve or sustain an institution's rankings.
U.S. News separately ranked comprehensive colleges and universities by region of the country. SUNY Geneseo, at No. 11, up three spots from last year, was the highest ranked Western New York school in the North region. Other Western New York campuses include: St. Bonaventure University, No. 21 (up six spots); Canisius College, No. 22 (up 1 spot); Alfred University, No. 48; Niagara University, No. 48 (down four spots); SUNY Fredonia, No. 56 (up five spots); SUNY Buffalo State, No. 120 (down 10 spots); and Daemen College, No. 130. Daemen in previous years was in a second tier of regional colleges, which this year includes D'Youville College and Medaille College.
Houghton College was listed in the best National Liberal Arts Colleges category at No. 147 (down three spots).
The magazine also rated the undergraduate business programs of national universities based on surveys of business school deans and senior faculty. UB's School of Management was listed at No. 78, down one spot from last year, out of 183 ranked schools