U.S. News and World Report released its annual list of best colleges this week, and seven Philadelphia-area institutions are among the rankings.
The state has more than 100 four-year degree institutions, including a mix of large research universities, midsize colleges, small liberal arts schools and several specialty schools. U.S. News and World Report ranks the schools according to their performance across a set of “widely accepted indicators of excellence.”
Mainly, the report looks at a school’s outcomes — its graduation and retention rates, as well as its faculty resources, financial resources, scores for students and alumni giving. Experts in academia also weigh in, which factors about 20% into the overall score.
(As noted by Technical.ly’s Pittsburgh reporter, Sophie Burkholder: Though the reliability and merit of these rankings has long been called into question by some education experts in the past, they still drive interest in universities for prospective students, and can call attention to the successes of individual programs or majors within each school.)
Philadelphia has seven schools on the list this year, while Pennsylvania’s second largest city, Pittsburgh, saw a handful as well. Here’s how the Philly schools fared:
The highest ranked was University of Pennsylvania, at No. 8 on the list of national universities, No. 38 in best undergraduate teaching and No. 14 in best value schools. When it comes to the institutions’ degree programs, Penn ranks No. 21 in undergraduate engineering, and No. 1 in business programs. The University City schools had 9,900 undergraduate students in the fall of 2020, and tuition and fees were just under $62,000.
Villanova University tied for 49th place with Bethlehem’s Lehigh University on the national schools list, and in 2020 enrolled 7,000 students. The Main Line school, which costs just under $60,000 in tuition and fees, ranked No. 96 in engineering programs and No. 23 in best value schools.
Drexel University and Temple Universities tied on the list for No. 103 this year, and had a 2020 enrollment of 14,600 and 27,300 undergraduate students, respectively. Drexel, in University City, saw its engineering programs ranked No. 52 and its value ranked No. 100, at an annual tuition and fees cost of about $57,000. Temple, in North Philadelphia, saw its engineering programs ranked No. 131, and it was ranked No. 75 for best value at an annual in-state cost of about $20,000 for tuition and fees.
Thomas Jefferson University, in Center City, ranked No. 148 overall, with a ranking of No. 195 for engineering programs. At an average costs of $41,715 each year, enrollment stood at 3,800 undergraduates in 2020.
And the last Philly-area schools on the list: Chester’s Widener University at No. 213, with enrollment at 2,900 and cost per year at $49,702, and Chester County’s Immaculata University at No. 227, with enrollment at 2,600 and cost per year at $27,750.