AUSTIN, Texas—The 2008 editions of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News and World Report magazine and the Princeton Review’s annual “The Best 366 Colleges” guide have again recognized The University of Texas at Austin as one of the best values in higher education.
This year’s U.S. News and World Report magazine survey of undergraduate programs at colleges and universities, released Aug. 17, again ranks the university among the nation’s top national and public universities.
U.S. News ranks the university 40th in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. This ranking couples “a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its U.S. News ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of financial aid.”
The Princeton Review, a New York-based company known for its test preparation courses, education services and books, said the university “poses near-limitless options for undergrads willing to seek them out.” The university was also noted as one of America’s Best Value Colleges in a list of 165 colleges designated as best overall bargains based on cost and financial aid.
The Kaplan/Newsweek “How to Get into College Guide” cites the university as one of the 25 “hottest schools in America” for its contributions to kindergarten through 12th grade education. The guide said “Texas’s flagship state university is rising to new prominence in education reform.”
The 2008 Fiske Guide to Colleges, which provides a subjective measure of the strengths and weaknesses of the top 300 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, said the university is “on anybody’s list of the top 10 public universities in the nation. The Plan II liberal arts honors program is one of the nation’s most renowned. Though it is also the capital of Texas, Austin ranks among the nation’s best college towns.”
The Washington Monthly, a District of Columbia-based political magazine, ranks the university 17th among national universities on community and national service. The university was 17th last year.
The list uses the percentage of students in Army or Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, the percentage of graduates in the Peace Corps, the percentage of federal work-study grants used for community service projects, the total amount of research spending, the number of doctorates granted in the hard sciences and, as a measure of social mobility, the percentage of students on Pell Grants, with a bonus for schools whose graduation rates are higher than expected for having so many low-income students.
In the U.S. News list of the top national public universities, the university ranked 13th among 162 institutions surveyed. The university also was ranked 13th in this category last year. In the magazine’s survey of 248 public and private American universities The University of Texas at Austin ranked 44th, a jump from 47th a year ago and 52nd two years ago.
In the peer assessment category, a qualitative measure of academic excellence and national reputation based on the opinions of presidents, provosts and deans of admissions, the university ranked in the top 25 among all national public and private universities.
Quantitative and qualitative measures are used to determine a university’s overall ranking. Among the magazine’s quantitative measures are graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, the percentage of classes under 20 students, the student-faculty ratio, an institution’s selectivity, its financial resources and alumni giving. Rankings of undergraduate programs such as business and engineering and specialty areas within those schools and colleges are determined by surveys of deans and senior faculty.
The university is highly ranked in the U.S. News qualitative survey of the best business and engineering undergraduate programs.
The College of Engineering undergraduate program ranked ninth in the nation (tied with Carnegie Mellon and Purdue University). It was 11th a year ago.
The McCombs School of Business ranked seventh (tied with Carnegie Mellon University). It was fifth last year. The McCombs’ accounting program ranked first in qualitative rankings of specialty areas, while its marketing program ranked second and management information systems program ranked third. Its management program ranked fifth.
In the magazine’s list of “Programs to Look For” the university is recognized for excellence in its study abroad programs.