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Brandeis ranks in U.S. News top universities, drops from last year’s rankings

Brandeis dropped in the U.S. News and World Report Best National University rankings from a tie for number 35 in 2019 to a tie for number 40 in the 2020 edition.

Brandeis also ranked number 76 in best undergraduate teaching, tying with Boston University, Columbia University and others, while it ranked number 34 in the previous year.

In U.S. New’s 35th edition of best college rankings for 2020, Brandeis tied for number 40 with Boston University, Northeastern University, Case Western Reserve University, College of William and Mary and Tulane University in the category of best national universities. 

Brandeis dropped from number 35 in the 2019 Edition, where it tied with the Georgia Institute of Technology. It also ranked number 33 in Best Value Schools, and number 138 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

In order to be in the National Universities category, schools have to offer a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master’s and Ph.D. programs. They also have to “emphasize faculty research,” according to U.S. News and World Report. 

To rank colleges, U.S. News and World Report uses 15 measures of academic quality. The evaluation utilizes a mix of interviews, tours and student polls, as well as data. The focus of the ranking are on “outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving,” according to U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News and World Report then maps all the categories to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s Basic Classification system, which is also used by the U.S. Department of Education and many higher education associations.

Percentage-wise, outcome accounts for 35 percent of the total score, faculty resources and expert opinion account for 20 percent each, financial resources and student excellence for 10 percent each and alumni giving for 5 percent. 

Outcome refers to the school’s success at retaining and graduating students within six years. Faculty resources consists of five factors from the previous academic year to assess a school’s commitment to instruction. Those include class size, faculty salary, faculty with the highest degree in their fields, student-faculty ratio and proportion of faculty who are full time. 

Expert opinion is a two year weighted average of ratings from presidents and provosts, who then rate the academic quality of peer institutions which they are familiar with on a scale of one to five. Financial resources is measured by using the average spending per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures in the two previous fiscal years. 

Student excellence measures the achievement of incoming students in high school, which is then weighted and scaled. Alumni giving is the average percentage of living alumni with bachelor’s degrees who gave to the school in the last two years.

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