Michigan Tech Moves Up in US News Undergraduate Rankings

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Once again listed in the top tier of national universities, Michigan Technological University’s overall undergraduate standing rose in US News & World Report’s latest ranking of colleges and universities nationwide.  In the 2011 “Best Colleges” report released today, Michigan Tech ranked 117th, along with the University of San Francisco and Loyola University in Chicago.   Last year, Michigan Tech ranked 121st.

In the latest rankings, Michigan Tech ranked 57th among national public universities. Only two Michigan universities, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, ranked higher than Michigan Tech.

Michigan Tech also appeared on a list of “A-Plus Schools for B Students,” a category comprising top-quality universities that also admit a significant proportion of students with ACT scores between 20 and 30, while at the same time maintaining a high retention rate.

Retention rates—the percentage of freshmen who return to campus for their second year and the percentage who graduate within six years—are considered important because they indicate how effective a school is at offering the classes and services that students need to succeed, the US News report explains.

US News has recognized what those in academia and industry who are familiar with Michigan Tech already know, that we are  making significant progress toward our goal of becoming a world-class technological research university,” said Provost Max Seel.  “And designation as an ‘A-plus school for B students’ speaks to the attention our undergraduate students are receiving. It highlights the level and quality of our education and is an important indicator of student satisfaction.”

Seel went on to say: “While we appreciate the recognition from the US News rankings, we know that the best measure is the success of our graduates.  Last year, 87.5 percent of graduating students were hired or accepted to graduate school in their chosen field."

US News undergraduate rankings are based on data submitted by the schools and on the opinions of administrators at peer institution. The quantitative data include graduation rate, average freshman retention rate, class size, SAT/ACT scores of entering students, the percentage of freshmen in the top 10 percent of their high school class, the institution’s acceptance rate and average annual alumni giving.

US News decided to weight graduation rate performance more heavily than in the past. That statistic—which is the difference between predicted and actual graduation rates—now accounts for 7.5 percent of a school’s final score.  It used to account for 5 percent.   At the same time, the opinions of administrators at peer institutions received a little less weight this year, dropping from 25 percent to 22.5 percent of the total score.  For the first time, high school counselors were also asked their opinions. 

In 2009—the year for which data was reported—Michigan Tech’s actual graduation rate rose to 66 percent, one percentage point higher than the predicted rate of 65 percent.  The previous year, the actual graduation rate was 65 percent.  The University’s acceptance rate dropped from 75 percent in 2008 to 73 percent in 2009, improving Tech’s score.  The lower the acceptance rate, the more selective the school’s admissions process. 

US News also ranks undergraduate engineering program and engineering specialties, based entirely on assessments by deans and faculty members at other engineering schools.  Once again, Michigan Tech’s undergraduate engineering program was ranked among the top 75 in the nation at universities that offer engineering doctorates.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.