It's not breaking news, but it's always fun to hear: the University of Texas at Austin isn't just one of the best colleges in Texas, it stands above most in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's latest ranking. But what might come as a surprise is UT isn't No. 1 in the Lone Star State.
On September 9, the publication released its annual 2020 Best Colleges report, comparing nearly 1,400 schools around the country.
UT ranks No. 2 in Texas and No. 48 in the nation, tying with the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and rising one spot from the national ranking in last year's report. Rice University in Houston ranks top in the state and No. 17 in the nation.
U.S. News broke down ranking metrics like a classic syllabus. Each school was graded across six categories, weighing outcomes (graduation and retention rates, social mobility, etc.) the heaviest at 35 percent. Faculty resources and expert opinion of schools each accounted for 20 percent of scores, followed by financial resources and student excellence at 10 percent each, and alumni giving at 5 percent.
The publication also brought some new rankings to the table this year, including Top Performers on Social Mobility, which analyzes schools by which best serve underrepresented students, looking at Pell Grants and enrollment and graduation rates of students from low-income backgrounds. UT ranks No. 134 on that list.
UT placed highly on some of U.S. News' new rankings for programs students should look out for, including first-year experiences (No. 14), undergraduate research/creative projects (No. 16), and study abroad (No. 45).
Nationwide, the Ivies continue their dominance atop the list. Princeton University is the best university in America, followed by Harvard University (No. 2), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, which tied for third.
In Texas, Southern Methodist University (No. 64), Texas A&M University (No. 70), and Baylor University (No. 79), round out the top five schools in Texas.
Locally, St. Edward's University comes in eighth on the Regional Universities West ranking, and Southwestern University took the 92nd spot on the National Liberal Arts Colleges list.
And in San Antonio, the University of the Incarnate Word ranks 272nd nationally, and Trinity University and St. Mary's University rank first and 10th, respectively, in the Regional Universities West ranking.