12:00 AM

Ohio State cracks top 20 among nation's public universities

COLUMBUS - According to the U.S. News & World Report 2007 edition of America's Best Colleges released today, The Ohio State University has been named 19th among the nation's top 50 public universities, up from 21st in 2005, 22nd in 2004 and 2003, and 24th in 2002.

"This is the latest evidence of the clear, steady increase in the academic reputation of this great university," said Ohio State President Karen A. Holbrook.

While noting that competition is intense to be among the top 20 public universities, Holbrook said the rankings reflect the dedication of many. "This accomplishment is a reflection of the talent and efforts of our faculty and students. We can also credit our alumni, friends and partners at the community, state and federal level for their continued strong support."

The rankings are based on peer assessment (25 percent of the score); retention (20 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (15 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance (5 percent); and alumni giving rate (5 percent).

The university shares the 19th ranking with the University of Pittsburgh. The magazine also ranked Ohio State 57th among all national universities both public and private, in a tie with the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University, an improvement over its ranking of 60 in last year's poll.

The top 20 ranking is the second for Ohio State in less than one week. The university was named 17th among public universities in the 2nd annual "Washington Monthly College Guide," which measures how much a school is benefiting the country. When compared to all national universities both public and private, Ohio State placed 27th.

The Washington Monthly guide considers three indicators: how well a school performs as an engine of social mobility, its success in fostering scientific and humanistic research, and its achievements in promoting an ethic of service to the country. Scores include percentage of students enrolled in ROTC, the percentage of alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps; total research expenditures, and the percentage of students on Pell Grants, which is considered a measure of commitment to educating lower-income students.

The U.S. News & World Report ranking of Ohio State, which is based on 2005 statistics, notes improvement in several categories. The percentage of freshmen in the top 10 percent of their high school class increased from 34 to 39 percent, and freshman retention improved from 87 to 88 percent. (Freshman retention was below 80 percent in 1997.)

The continued improvement in freshman retention is due in large part to Ohio State's innovative First Year Experience (FYE) program, which U.S. News & World Report has listed for the fifth consecutive year as an outstanding example of a program that leads to student success.

In addition to overall institutional rankings, the magazine also annually ranks a small number of undergraduate programs in business and engineering. Among both private and public universities, Ohio State's Fisher College of Business remains 18th best in the nation. Among public universities, the program is rated 10th.

Among recent recognition of the university's enhanced academic standing, for the third straight year, Ohio State leads the country in the number of faculty named as "fellows" of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Earlier this year, 20 faculty from Ohio State were awarded the "fellow" rank within AAAS, the largest scientific organization in the world. In addition, the university was ranked 9th among public universities in the amount of its sponsored research, according to statistics compiled by the National Science Foundation.

Ohio State also ranks among the nation's best in fundraising. The university's endowment now exceeds $2 billion, ranked the 7th largest among public universities in 2005, and ranked 27th when private schools were included.

Founded in 1870, Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 50,500 students enrolled at its main Columbus campus, 17 colleges and 170 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.