UM’s US News ranking remains the same at #55

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Miami ranked 55 in the 2022-2023 Top National Universities in the United States for the second year in a row. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

US News’ Best National University Rankings placed the University of Miami 55th for the second year in a row. Again, its ranking joins that of Florida State University (FSU).

US News rankings are the most popular of their kind in the United States, helping guide students and parents as they sift through hundreds of public and private universities and colleges. US News’ “Best” Series Surpasses 40 million people per month.

Still, falling rankings don’t seem to be dampening the number of students applying to and attending UM. According to UM’s 2021-2022 Factbook, UM’s acceptance rate increased from 36% in 2017 to 28% in fall 2021, while the number of students applying increased to over 42,000 against 30,634 in 2017.

“I think it’s a bit unfair because it’s a great school, at least for me,” said Rohan Tharaney, business technology and marketing specialist. “The faculty, they’ve been pretty unprecedented.”

The #55 ranking didn’t bother the other students.

“We’re not getting worse or better, which isn’t the end of the world,” said freshman computer science student Skyler Schwanewede. “It’s okay, we remain neutral.”

US News creates a score for each university, primarily based on “results”, “faculty resources”, and “expert opinion”.

“Outcomes” examines how the college is able to enroll, retain and graduate students from diverse backgrounds while maintaining a minimum amount of debt load.

This represents 40% of the score, making it the most important metric of the entire ranking. It is mainly based on enrollment rate, retention rate and six-year graduation rate.

While UM’s retention rate has increased in recent years to around 92.8%, according to the UM Factbook 2021-2022, its 4-year graduation rate has fallen to 71%. UM does not report its six-year graduation rate.

Another 20% of the ranking relates to faculty resources, primarily as it relates to class sizes and faculty salaries. US News uses this as a measure of student access to quality teachers.

Glassdoor, a popular job search service, estimates that the median salary for UM faculty is $138,240 per year and the 2021-2022 UM Factbook reports that 92% of classes have fewer than 50 students.

These measures are useful insofar as they are concrete but have drawn criticism from various publications, including Forbes and PrepScholar. Other surveys have shown that universities can inflate their statistics, especially in the case of Columbia University.

The ranking also excludes athletics and social life from the calculation based on the inability to report them accurately.

Schwanewede commented on the value of Miami’s social life. He noted that one cannot enjoy the same lifestyle in Gainesville, which is home to the University of Florida, ranked as the best university in Florida.

Niche, another ranking service, gave UM an A+ rating for “diversity,” “party scene,” “athletics,” and an A rating for “location.” None of these metrics contributed to US News’ rankings.

Tharaney, as a business tech specialist, liked Miami’s location, especially as it turns into a national tech hub.

“The network is unprecedented,” Tharaney said.

He praised the university for helping him find postgraduate employment and winning first place in the International Business Ethics Case Competition, an international honor.

Jacqueline Menendez, vice president of communications, also referenced other measures of success in a statement to The Miami Hurricane.

“The University of Miami continues to focus on enhancing our world-class offerings to provide students with transformative campus experiences and to engage leading scholars and community partners in innovative research that helps solve the society’s most complex challenges. We’re proud to attract awesome talent to South Florida, make groundbreaking discoveries, unite our communities, and play a vital role in protecting health and wellness. These are our most important measures of success,” Menendez said.

Under former UM President Donna Shalala, the university reached #38 in 2012, holding the No. 1 university ranking in Florida. Since that peak, UM has fluctuated between the high 40s and mid-50s in its rankings.

In 2021, UM moved from 49th to its current ranking, dropping out of the top 50 and entering a five-way tie with FSU, Pepperdine University, University of Maryland, University of Washington Rutgers University in News Brunswick, and Santa Clara University.

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