Crain’s Detroit Business
Sept. 18, 2023
The University of Michigan remains the state’s top-rated university, and it’s not all that close.
That’s according to much-watched new rankings released Monday by U.S. News & World Report, the first with a revamped methodology that places greater emphasis on social mobility and outcomes for graduating college students.
Among the factors introduced this year are graduation rates for students who received need-based Pell grants, and whether recent graduates were earning more than people who had completed only high school.
U.S. News breaks down its rankings into subcategories that are led by separate lists of national universities and national liberal arts colleges.
Leading the national universities list, in order, are usual Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, tied for third, Harvard University and Stanford University.
Michigan’s top-ranked school on the national universities list is the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor at No. 21, up four spots from last year.
Among public universities nationwide, U-M was third, according to the U.S. News rankings. It sits just behind University of California, Berkeley and UCLA, which are tied for first.
Michigan State University is the next highest Michigan school on the list, coming in at No. 60 nationwide. The East Lansing university ranked 28th among public schools. That’s up from last year’s rankings when the school came in at No. 77 overall and No. 31 among public universities.
Here are all the Michigan institutions on the national universities list:
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (21)
- Michigan State University (60)
- Michigan Technological University (151)
- University of Detroit Mercy (185)
- Wayne State University (201)
- Grand Valley State University (236)
- Central Michigan University (260)
- Ferris State University (tied, 304)
- Western Michigan University (tied, 304)
- Andrews University (320)
- Oakland University (332)
- Eastern Michigan University (376)
- University of Michigan-Flint (390)
The methodology that U.S. News uses to determine college rankings has long been the subject of controversy. Criticism escalated last year after a professor at Columbia University called into question the validity of data provided by the school. The New York City school later pulled itself out of the undergraduate rankings, though U.S. news still ranks the college.
Other high profile graduate schools have also ditched the rankings, including the University of Michigan’s law school.
This year’s undergraduate rankings reflect “the most significant methodological change in the rankings’ history,” according to a press release from U.S. News. “More than 50% of an institution’s rank now comprises varying outcome measures related to success in enrolling and graduating students from all backgrounds with manageable debt and post-graduate success.”
The rankings no longer weigh a number of factors that it previously had considered, including class size, faculty with terminal degrees, alumni giving, high school class standing and the proportion of graduates who borrow federal loans.