Oklahoma universities get mixed reviews in national rankings

U.S. News and World Report's 2013 Best Colleges report was released Wednesday. The report ranks schools nationwide based on a number of criteria, including selectivity, graduation rates and average freshman retention rates.
by Silas Allen Modified: September 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012

A national ranking of colleges and universities showed mixed results for institutions of higher learning in Oklahoma.

U.S. News and World Report's 2013 Best Colleges report was released Wednesday. The report ranks schools nationwide based on a number of criteria, including selectivity, graduation rates and average freshman retention rates.

All of Oklahoma's three national universities remained the same or moved down in this year's rankings. The University of Oklahoma was ranked at 101st out of 281 universities, the same ranking the university received in 2012.

Both Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa moved down in rank — OSU from 132nd in 2012 to 139th in 2013, and TU from 75th in 2012 to 83rd in 2013.

The rankings divide schools into categories based on size and other factors, said Bob Morse, the magazine's director of data research. Those categories allow editors to compare schools that have broadly similar missions.

Universities are scored on data they report to the U.S. Department of Education and also on perceived prestige. Respondents to a survey rate universities based on their reputations, Morse said, and those scores make up a part of universities' overall grades.

Although its overall ranking didn't improve, OU showed signs of progress in some of the report's categories. OU's six-year graduation rate edged up from 64 percent in the 2012 rankings to 68 percent for 2013.

OU spokesman Michael Nash said university officials were “pleased but not surprised” by the rankings.

“While we do not place great emphasis on these rankings because they're not based upon the actual evaluation of the quality of our academic programs, the University of Oklahoma has continued to grow in the number of highly ranked academic degree programs offered to our students at an affordable cost,” Nash said in an email.

OSU's rankings included an improvement in the university's six-year graduation rate. The 2012 rankings show a graduation rate of 59 percent, based on 2010 data. In the 2013 rankings, that figure climbed to 62 percent, based on 2011 numbers.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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