Measuring institutions on research, students’ social mobility and civic engagement, Washington Monthly named the University of Washington seventh best in the nation in its 2014 national university rankings released Monday. The Washington Monthly ranking “gives high marks to institutions that contribute to society, enroll low income students, help them graduate and don’t charge a fortune to attend.”
“We are especially proud of the results of the Washington Monthly ranking for several reasons,” said UW President Michael K. Young. “First, it is a performance-based ranking, and our record speaks volumes for the work our students, faculty, and staff are doing to be a socially responsible institution. Second, the criteria for this align very closely with our mission as a public university serving the needs of the citizens of Washington. And lastly, despite upward pressures in recent years on tuition, we remain reasonably affordable. It’s very gratifying to be recognized for these attributes.”
This is the UW’s highest ranking since Washington Monthly, a biweekly nonprofit magazine covering politics, government, culture and the media, began releasing them in 2005. The previous high was No. 8 in 2012. In this year’s ranking, 14 of the top 20 universities are public.
The ranking’s three metrics are weighted equally. The “social mobility” criteria is based on the number of students receiving Pell grants; the actual graduation rate compared to the predicted graduation rate; and the net price of attending the university, after subtracting need-based financial aid. The research component consists of dollars spent on research, number of graduates going on to receive a doctorate, the number of science and engineering doctoral degrees awarded, faculty receiving prestigious awards, and the number of faculty who are members of the National Academies. Finally, civic engagement is measured by the number of students in ROTC and alumni going on to serve in the Peace Corps; federal work-study funding that goes to community service; and other measures demonstrating the university’s commitment to supporting staff, students and scholarship efforts around community service.
The UW’s financial aid and affordability efforts are bolstered by the Husky Promise, which guarantees to cover the cost of tuition for qualified students from the state of Washington who otherwise could not afford to attend. In 2013, approximately one-third of undergraduates from the state of Washington were covered by the Husky Promise. Also, about 30 percent of UW undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college.
In addition to the national ranking, UW Bothell was ranked No. 6 on the publication’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list, which rates “schools that do the best job helping students of modest means earn marketable degrees at affordable prices.” The UW Seattle campus ranked No.15 on this list, which is not based solely on net price but also factors in the number of students receiving Pell grants, graduation rates and loan default rates.