U.S. News Rankings Show Increases, Decreases for GW

Rankings, which change from year to year, are one of many ways to determine whether a university is the right fit, officials said.

GW Tempietto
September 09, 2019

According to a new list released Monday by U.S. News & World Report, the George Washington University is ranked 70 out of 390 universities in the country.

While GW’s overall rank this year decreased compared to last year, when the university was ranked 63, many category ranks remained stable or significantly improved. The shift in the overall ranking is due in part to a six-way tie among universities ranked just above GW, Provost Forrest Maltzman said. GW’s overall ranking decreased by one point compared to last year.

One of the most important improvements was GW’s graduation and retention rank, a testament, Dr. Maltzman said, to faculty and staff efforts to prioritize student success. It moved from 72 to 64, which significantly and positively enhanced GW’s overall rank. Additionally, rankings for reputation among higher education administrators (60), student selectivity (51) and financial resources (61) continued to outpace GW’s overall ranking. 

U.S. News altered its methodology for the new rankings, Dr. Maltzman said. The high school counselor assessment ratings, for example, accounted for 5 percent of last year’s rankings, but they were eliminated as a ranking factor this year. Last year, GW was ranked 35 in that category.

“Rankings provide us with certain information, but they change yearly and ultimately can only reflect what the organization publishing the list considers important,” Dr. Maltzman said. “What has always been and will remain important to us is our core mission of providing a world-class education to our students and creating the environment for our students and faculty to explore new ideas and create new knowledge.”

Some of GW’s rankings decreased compared to last year and were weaker than GW’s overall ranking, including on metrics that capture alumni giving, faculty resources and social mobility, which takes into account the percentage of students at GW who receive Pell Grants as well as the graduation rate of those recipients.

“We believe in looking at all data to understand why shifts occur and where we need to invest our time and resources,” Dr. Maltzman added.

Ed Gillis, interim vice provost for enrollment and student success, said there are “many ways to measure an institution’s strengths and challenges.”

“It is important to remember that rankings are just one of many ways for students and families to determine what institution is the best fit for them,” Mr. Gillis said.

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