For Journalists




In a tie with UC-Berkeley
U.Va. Regains No. 1 Position Among Best Public Institutions; Jumps To No. 21 Among Best National Universities In U.S.News Rankings

August 21, 2003 -- The University of Virginia has regained its No. 1 ranking among public universities, U.S. News & World Report announced today.

Since U.S. News began ranking public schools in 1998, U.Va. has never been lower than No. 2, and this is the fourth time in seven years it has claimed the No. 1 spot.

In its 2004 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” U.S. News also ranked U.Va. as No. 21 in its Top National Universities category, which includes public and private institutions. In both rankings, U.Va. tied with the University of California-Berkeley. In the 17- year history of the rankings, U.Va. has never dropped out of the top 25 listing.

University President John T. Casteen III said he believes the University’s continued success in the rankings is due, in large measure, to 10 years of strong philanthropic support for faculty work that is equal to the best in the country.

"I am particularly pleased that in the midst of an extraordinary state budget crisis, the University of Virginia has managed not only to hold its own, but also to continue to be ranked at the top,” Casteen said. “This honor is a tribute to the sustained hard work and contributions of every member of the University community, and to the loyalty of University alumni around the world."

University Provost Gene D. Block pointed to the University’s strong score for its academic programs and reputation -- 4.4 out of 5 -- as an important indicator of success. “The fact that our ranking and, specifically, our reputational score increased this year confirms what we all know to be the case, that the University has outstanding faculty, students and programs,” Block said. “ The past year's financial difficulties have been hard on everyone, and it is gratifying to know that others continue to view our institution as a leader.”

In the past several years, the University sustained the largest cuts of any other state institution, in addition to weathering tuition rollbacks and three years of faculty salary freezes. In the faculty resources category of the overall rankings, which includes faculty compensation, the University dropped from 35 to 44. The toll over the present two-year budget will be about $96 million in reduced state support and could well impact future rankings.

During the same time, there was some good financial news. In April, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the University to a triple-A debt rating, making it one of only two public universities in the country — along with the University of Texas — to hold the coveted ranking from all three of the financial world’s major bond-rating agencies.

Despite the state’s economic situation and its impact on the University, Standard & Poor cited, among other things, the University’s solid reputation, increase in research funding, and the strength and effectiveness of its financial and business operations.

In additional 2004 rankings, U.S. News named U.Va.’s McIntire School of Commerce No. 7 among best undergraduate business programs in a three-way tie with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Among 12 ranked business specialties, McIntire tied with Indiana University-Bloomington at No. 4 among best management programs.

Among best undergraduate engineering programs, U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was in good company at No. 38 in an 11-way tie with Brown, Case Western, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Washington University (St. Louis), Yale and others.

Last year, U.S. News introduced a category called Outstanding First-Year Experience, and for the second time U.Va. was among the schools cited as among the best in the country.

more background on uva rankings
U.Va. Regains Top Public Spot in U.S. News Rankings
Ties with UC - Berkeley for No. 1 Best Public University;
Jumps to No. 21 Among Best National Universities

McIntire School of Commerce, No. 7 among undergraduate business programs; School of Engineering in 11-way tie for No. 38; First-Year Experience program cited as one of nation's best

In its 2004 edition of "America's Best Colleges," U.S. News & World Report once again ranked the University of Virginia among the top 25 Best National Universities in the country. The University jumped from No. 23 last year to tie with the University of California-Berkeley at No. 21 this year. Among the Top Public University category, U.Va. regained the No. 1 spot in a tie with UC-Berkeley. U.Va. was ranked the No. 2 public university for the last two years.

U.S. News also ranks individual undergraduate business and engineering programs. In undergraduate business programs, the McIntire School of Commerce ranked No. 7 in a three-way tie with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. The No. 1 spot went to the University of Pennsylvania. Among 12 ranked specialties, McIntire ranked No. 4 for management in a tie with Indiana University-Bloomington. (The McIntire School was ranked No. 5 last year in a tie with the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. The management program was ranked the same at No. 4)

The Engineering School, in an 11-way tie, ranked No. 38 among best undergraduate engineering programs (among institutions where a doctorate is the highest degree offered). The No. 1 spot went to MIT. Among the other schools ranked at No. 38 are: Arizona State, Brown, Case Western, Lehigh,
Michigan State, University of Arizona, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Washington University (St. Louis), and Yale. (The Engineering School was ranked No. 37 last year in a seven-way tie.)

The University also was cited as one of 38 schools with an outstanding first-year experience program. These schools were selected through a poll of college presidents, chief academic officers, and deans of students who were asked to nominate 10 institutions that are "stellar examples" of eight different

A brief recap of methodology and a look at how we did in key categories

For comparison purposes, scores for Harvard (No. 1) and UNC - Chapel Hill (No. 29) have been included.

* Peer assessment (weighted 25%) surveys "presidents, provosts, and deans of admission… each individual is asked to rate peer schools' academic programs on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). U.Va. = 4.4; Harvard = 4.9; UNC = 4.2. U.Va. increased 1/10th of a point from 4.3 to 4.4
* Freshmen retention rate (weighted 20%). U.Va. = 97%; Harvard = 97%; UNC = 95%.
* Faculty resources rank (weighted 20%) uses "six factors from the 2002-03 academic calendar to assess a school's commitment to instruction." The six components are classes with fewer than 20 students, classes with more than 50 students, faculty salaries, professors with a terminal degree,
student-faculty ratio, and proportion of full-time faculty. U.Va. = 44; Harvard = 2; UNC = 71.
* Student selectivity rank (weighted 15%) takes into account test scores, acceptance rate, and the proportion of students in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class. U.Va. = 25; Harvard = 4; UNC = 34.
* Financial resources (weighted 10%) measures "the average spending per student on instruction, research, student services, and related educational expenditures during the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years." U.Va. = 54; Harvard = 10; UNC = 28.
* Graduation rate performance rank (weighted 5%) "was developed to include the effect of the college's programs and policies on the graduation rate of students after controlling for spending and student aptitude." U.Va. = 12; Harvard = 1; UNC = 33
* Alumni giving rate (weighted 5%). U.Va. = 27%; Harvard = 49%; UNC = 25%.

Best National Universities (The Top 25)
Rank School
1. Harvard University
1. Princeton University
3. Yale University
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. California Institute of Technology
5. Duke University
5. Stanford University
5. University of Pennsylvania
9. Dartmouth College
9. Washington University in St. Louis
11. Columbia University
11. Northwestern University
13. University of Chicago
14. Cornell University
14. Johns Hopkins University
16. Rice University
17. Brown University
18. Emory University
19. University of Notre Dame
19. Vanderbilt University
21. University of Virginia *
21. University of California - Berkeley *
23. Carnegie Mellon University
23. Georgetown University
25. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor *
* public institution
Top 25 Public National Universities
Rank School
1. University of Virginia
1. University of California - Berkeley
3. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
4. University of California - Los Angeles
5. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
6. College of William & Mary
7. University of California - San Diego
7. University of Wisconsin - Madison
9. Georgia Institute of Technology
10. University of Illinois - Urbana - Champaign
11. University of California - Davis
12. University of California - Irvine
12. University of California - Santa Barbara
12. University of Washington
15. Pennsylvania State University - University Park
15. University of Florida
17. University of Maryland - College Park
17. University of Texas - Austin
19. University of Iowa
20. Purdue University - West Lafayette
20. University of Georgia
22. Ohio State University - Columbus
22. Rutgers - New Brunswick
22. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
25. Miami University - Oxford
25. University of Connecticut
32. Virginia Tech

University of Virginia National Rankings, 1988 - 2004
Year Rank
2004 21
2003 23
2002 21
2001 20
2000 22
1999 22
1998 21
1997 21
1996 19
1995 17
1994 21
1993 22
1992 21
1991 18
1990 21
1989 20
1988 15

University of Virginia Public Rankings, 1998 - 2004
Year1 Rank
2004 1
2003 2
2002 2
2001 1
2000 2
1999 1
1998 1

1 U.S. News did not begin breaking out the Top 50 Publics until 1998.

Contact: Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page

Top News site edited by Dan Heuchert (; maintained by Karen Asher (; releases posted by Sally Barbour (
Last Modified: Friday, 22-Aug-2003 08:16:41 EDT
© 2003 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Top News Information: (434) 924-7676.


News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar Uva Home Page