UConn continues to excel in measures of academic quality and student success, but the impact of ongoing state cuts in financial support overcame that progress to precipitate a modest drop this year in the university’s U.S. News & World Report ranking.
UConn was ranked No. 22 among national public universities in the new listing, down from last year’s spot at No. 18.
The ranking, released Monday, shows that UConn continues to deliver strong performances in student retention and graduation rates, student selectivity, academic reputation, and faculty resources. It stayed steady or improved in almost all measures of institutional quality.
In fact, UConn is among the top 10 institutions this year in freshman retention rates among the top 30 public universities, with 93 percent of students returning after their first year; and No. 4 in class size indicators due to having a small number of classes (only 16 percent) with more than 50 students.
However, with the measure of financial resources counting for 10 percent of each school’s score, consistent cuts in UConn’s state grant aid over the past several years helped to pull down UConn’s overall ranking.
Although UConn remains among the top 25 national public universities for the eighth consecutive year, UConn President Susan Herbst has said consistently that the cuts in state aid would have an impact in the ranking.
“This is unfortunate, but it is not a surprise,” Herbst said of this year’s change. “I have said for several years, in both public and private discussions, that UConn’s financial struggles tied to reduced state support for its operating budget would eventually be reflected in U.S. News. It is frustrating to lose ground in this ranking because of that, even as UConn continues to do very well when it comes to key measures of student success, our faculty, and our academic strength.
“It is vital that the state, the university …