Duke moves up in college rankings; UNC maintains its spot

Sep. 10, 2013 @ 08:53 AM

Duke University rose to a tie for seventh place in the latest annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report magazine of national universities that offer doctoral degrees. UNC ranks fifth among the nation’s best public universities for the 13th consecutive year, according to the magazine.
Last year, Duke shared the No. 8 spot. It was ranked 10th in 2011. This year, Duke was in a tie for seventh with the University of Pennsylvania and MIT.
Among national public universities, UC-Berkeley ranked first, followed by UCLA and Virginia (tied for second), Michigan (fourth) and UNC (fifth) -- the same order as for the past two years.
Among both national public and private universities, UNC ranked 30th overall, the same as last year.
U.S. News also placed Duke in a tie for seventh among national universities that have a strong commitment to teaching.
The magazine singled out Duke in four categories in "Programs to Look For," which it described as enriched offerings that provide undergraduates with the best possible experience.
Duke was cited for service learning, senior capstone, undergraduate research/creative projects and writing in the disciplines.
Duke's undergraduate engineering program was ranked in a tie for 19th among doctoral universities -- up one spot from a year ago -- and the Pratt School’s biomedical/biomedical engineering program placed second in the rankings.
In the latest survey, U.S. News ranked Duke at No. 12 in a category called "Great Schools at Great Prices," for which the magazine compares a school's academic quality with the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. UNC was first among national public universities for the ninth consecutive year and 17th overall in that category.
Duke also was among four schools tied for 17th in the category "economic diversity," which the magazine said gauges “institutions’ relative commitment to access for all.”
Duke was among seven national universities tied for 12th in a survey of high school guidance counselors.
Other U.S. News rankings results for UNC-Chapel Hill included the following:
Forty-two percent of UNC undergraduates received need-based aid in 2012. Carolina meets 100 percent of the documented need of undergraduates qualifying for need-based aid who apply on time.
Second among publics and seventh overall for least debt, with 35 percent of students graduating with debt and an average amount of $16,983.
UNC also had a 97 percent average first-year retention rate for the fifth consecutive year.
An 89 percent average six-year graduation rate, 3 percentage points better than U.S. News predicted. (UNC’s four-year rate graduation is nearly 81 percent.)
U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality, weighted as follows: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), assessment by peers and counselors (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (difference between actual and predicted graduation rates, 7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent). 
The rankings appear in the 2014 “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook and at www.usnews.com.