U.S. News national rankings: N.J. puts 4 in Top 100 (including No. 1 Princeton)

Rutgers-New Brunswick (T55), Stevens (T63), NJIT (T97) among 10 schools in Top 200

How long has Princeton University’s run as the No. 1 university in the country been? Consider this: The school’s incoming freshman class was starting second grade when it began.

For the 12th consecutive year, Princeton was ranked No. 1 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings, which were released Monday. (See the complete list here.)

And, while the school always humbly accepts the honor, others in New Jersey may find this year’s rankings worth shouting about.

Consider this:

  • Four schools in New Jersey made the Top 100 (up one from a year ago);
  • 10 schools in New Jersey are now in the Top 200 (up one from a year ago);
  • Four of the schools improved their ranking.

A look at the New Jersey rankings:

No. 1: Princeton
No. 55 (tie): Rutgers University–New Brunswick
No. 83 (tie): Stevens Institute of Technology
No. 97 (tie): New Jersey Institute of Technology
No. 115 (tie): Rutgers-Newark
No. 127 (tie): Rutgers-Camden
No. 137 (tie): Seton Hall University
No. 182 (tie): Montclair State University
No. 182 (tie): Stockton University
No. 194 (tie): Rowan University

Four schools in New Jersey increased their standing: Rutgers-New Brunswick (up eight spots), NJIT (up six spots), Rutgers-Newark (up 12 spots) and Rutgers-Camden (up 21 spots).

Stockton was ranked in the national category for the first time, as was Kean University, which was grouped with universities between No. 331-No. 440.

Kean, which is pushing to increase its growing stature, was ranked No. 46 among 439 national universities in increasing social mobility for students, a measure recognizing Kean’s success in supporting economically disadvantaged students throughout their path to graduation.

“We are gratified by the strong showing Kean University makes in this year’s U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, including rising from regional university to national university,” Kean President Lamont Repollet said. “More importantly, we are proud of the incredible work behind those numbers, including our stronger focus on research, growing doctoral programs, and of course our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion as we support all students.”

U.S. News & World Report, considered the global authority in education rankings, said it evaluated 1,500 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality.

Princeton said it was again honored to come out on top of all those evaluated.

“Princeton is committed to contributing to the world through teaching and research of unsurpassed quality,” the school said in a statement. “To do that, we strive to support a diverse community and offer financial aid that allows students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to graduate debt-free and impact the community and world around them.

“Of course, we appreciate when those efforts are recognized.”

The formula

The formula for the prestigious U.S. News & World Report college rankings:

  • Outcomes: 40% — Graduate indebtedness; social mobility; graduation rate performance; graduation and retention rates.
  • Faculty resources: 20% — Class size; undergraduate student-faculty ratio; proportion of instructional faculty who are full time; percent of full- and part-time instructional faculty with the highest degrees in their field; and full-time instructional faculty salaries.
  • Expert opinion: 20% — The opinions of presidents, provosts and admissions deans of peer institutions.
  • Financial Resources: 10% — The average spending per student on things that go directly toward educating undergrads, such as instruction, research and student services. Spending on dorms, food services and other noneducational areas are not counted.
  • Student Excellence: 7% — ACT/SAT scores when applicable; proportion of first-year students who were in the Top 10% of their high school classes for national universities and national liberal arts colleges, or in the top 25% for regional schools. To put more emphasis on outcomes, U.S. News dropped acceptance rate from the methodology in the 2019 edition.
  • Alumni Giving: 3% — Percentage of living alumni with bachelor’s degrees who gave to their schools during a given year. The monetary amount donated does not factor into the rankings.

NJIT, under new President Teik Lim, was thrilled the school has jumped 21 spots in the past two years.

“Joining the Top 100 in U.S. News’ National Universities rankings and ranking No. 42 among public colleges is significant and follows on the heels of being named the No. 1 public university in New Jersey and No. 28 in the nation by Forbes,” he said. “What’s most important is that the reason for NJIT’s rise in the rankings and its reputational growth is the success of our students and alumni in their academic and professional career pursuits.”

Rutgers, which improved from No. 63 a year ago, was pleased.

“It is gratifying and affirming to see rising rankings that are an outgrowth of our work across the university,” President Jonathan Holloway said. “Building on Rutgers’ academic excellence and supporting our first-rate faculty, transforming the lives of our remarkable students and cultivating innovations that improve the world we live in are reflected in the new rankings.”

Stevens said the rankings represent the university’s efforts to continually improve.

“Over the last decade, Stevens has distinguished itself as a premier, student-centric, technological research university on a remarkable upward trajectory,” the school said in a statement. “Our continued recognition in the U.S. News rankings reflects our dedication to providing an exceptional educational experience for our students, whose innovative research and impactful achievements will change our world for the better.”

Schools are ranked separately by categories, including:

  • National universities: Institutions that are often research-oriented and offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees;
  • National liberal arts colleges: Schools that emphasize undergraduate education and award half or more of their degrees across liberal arts fields;
  • Regional colleges and universities: Schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, some master’s programs and limited options at the doctoral level. Those schools are divided by region, too. (See story here.)

Drew University was the only New Jersey school ranked in the national liberal arts ranking, coming in at a tie for No. 111.

Here is the national Top 10:

No. 1: Princeton
No. 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
No. 3 (tie): Harvard University
No. 3 (tie): Stanford University
No. 3 (tie): Yale University
No. 6: University of Chicago
No. 7 (tie): Johns Hopkins University
No. 7 (tie): University of Pennsylvania
No. 9: California Institute of Technology
No. 10 (tie): Duke University
No. 10 (tie): Northwestern University