William and Mary's rank falls on U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges

aheymann@vagazette.com

The College of William and Mary has been rated 38th among national universities according to the 2019 U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings.

While William and Mary is still among the top 50 universities in the nation, it fell six points from its 2018 rank as the 32nd top university in the nation.

This year, U.S. News and World Report changed its methodology of how it ranks colleges. The changes include excluding a college’s acceptance rate as a factor, reducing the weight of SAT/ACT scores and adding emphasis on graduation rates of students who receive Pell Grants.

Micheal Halleran, the provost of William and Mary, said he attributed the shift in the college’s national ranking to the changes in methodology the magazine used.

“Among 2018’s top-50 universities, seven saw drops of five or more places in the 2019 rankings. By contrast, from the 2017 to 2018 rankings, only one top-50 university saw a decline of that magnitude,” a statement released from the college on Monday said.

“If you look historically, (William and Mary) has fared very well in U.S. News and World Report,” Halleran said. “Usually you see very small shifts, you go from 32-31 … what (U.S. News) did this time is they made a significant change in their metrics.”

Halleran said one of the biggest changes to affect the college’s ranking was giving more weight to colleges that attract and graduate more students who receive Pell Grants.

“Now the Pell graduates we recruit do very well (at William and Mary,) but our total Pell-eligible student body is smaller, so who gained are the larger public institutions,” Halleran said.

Because of this change, Halleran said you cannot compare the college’s current ranking to past.

“The results do not say that the education is one which is inferior than it was the year before or the year before that,” Halloran said.

Halleran added the college has already made efforts and progress in getting more students who receive Pell Grants into the university and would continue those efforts.

Other measures

William and Mary improved its standing among undergraduate teaching programs, rising to fifth in the nation this year, up from seventh last year.

In addition, the college was also number one among public univerisites for undergraduate alumni participation.

“Well, you might think ‘okay well that’s about money what does that matter?’ What it tells you is the students who graduate are very satisfied,” Hallerand said.

Other notable rankings for W&M in the 2019 list include:

  • Tied for 10th best public college in the nation with the University of California, Davis. There was no 2018 data for this rank.
  • The 17th best college in the nation for veterans. There was no 2018 data for this rank.
  • Improved its rank for ratings by high school counselors from 35th in 2018 to being tied 32nd in 2019.

Want to learn more?

To learn more information on William and Mary’s rankings or to look up another college visit usnews.com/best-colleges.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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