Updated March 23 at 7:53pm

Brown climbs U.S. News’ rankings of ‘best’ national universities to No. 15


PROVIDENCE – Brown University climbed one spot to No. 15 on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of America’s best national universities released Tuesday.

The University of Rhode Island was the only other local school to make U.S. News' Best Colleges 2011 national universities list, coming in at No. 167.

Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., appeared on the listing for best national liberal arts colleges, at No. 59 and No. 105, respectively.

U.S. News has ranked schools since 1983 based on data such as graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, financial resources, student selectivity and alumni giving. Also playing a part in the calculations is a reputation survey that the magazine sends to top college officials. School officials have criticized the lists as arbitrary and incomplete, but they remain influential.

Harvard University, Princeton University placed first and second on the 2011 list, respectively, marking the 11th consecutive year one or both of the institutions led the list of national research institutions. Yale University placed third. Last year, Brown ranked No. 16.

Several local institutions made a good showing in the regional rankings.

Providence College took second in the best regional universities in the North, which includes all the New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.

Also appearing on the same list were Bryant University (No. 16), Salve Regina University (No. 40), the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (No. 81), Johnson & Wales University (No. 84) and Rhode Island College (No. 105).

Meanwhile, Roger Williams University ranked No. 8 on the list of best regional colleges in the North.

PC placed fifth in a list of best values among regional universities, with 49.1 percent of the students receiving need-based grants and the discount from total cost averaging 36 percent. The school tuition and fees total $34,435 (excluding room and board) for the coming school year, U.S. News said. (Tuition and fees (including room and board) for incoming freshmen will top out at $51,215, the school had previously told Providence Business News.)

Providence College also appears second in a regional university ranking of “A+ options for B students,” schools with strong ratings that “accept a significant number of students with nonstratospheric transcripts,” U.S. News said. PC’s acceptance rate was 60 percent in fall 2009 and the 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores for its students in 2009 were 1060 and 1270, according to U.S. News.

PC wasn’t the lone local representative on that list.

Bryant ranked No. 16 with a 53 percent acceptance rate and a 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores for its students in 2009 at 1060 and 1220. Salve Regina appeared No. 40, with an acceptance rate of 64 percent and 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores of 1000 and 1175, U.S. News said.

“It is gratifying to earn this recognition, especially coming on the heels of Bryant’s inclusion in the Princeton Review’s ‘Best 373 Colleges’ guide and our designation as one of America’s best colleges by Forbes.com,” said José-Marie Griffiths, Bryant’s vice president of academic affairs. “Such rankings affirm the efforts that our faculty, staff and alumni make to create exceptional educational and professional opportunities for Bryant students.”

Guidance counselors from the nation’s 100 best-performing high schools were also asked by U.S. News what schools offered the best undergraduate education. Brown ranked sixth in the country among universities nationwide; URI rated 194th.

Additional information is available at www.usnews.com.


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