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Texas scores slump in latest US News & World Report college rankings

Most Texas schools fell on the national list.

Rice University is once again the top Texas school in U.S. News & World Report’s newest rankings of best colleges across the nation, which came out Sept. 9. 

Rice was tied at No. 17 on the 2020 list of best national universities, along with Cornell University in New York. A national university, per U.S. News, is a university that offers a range of undergraduate majors, along with master’s and doctoral degrees. National universities emphasize research and receive federal money to support it. A regional university, in comparison, typically doesn’t offer many doctoral programs. 

You can see how the 13 Texas schools fared on the national universities list by clicking here(Another 15 Texas schools did not receive scores or rankings on the national universities list and thus are grouped in the Nos. 293-381 range alphabetically.)

You can access the top 20 universities from across the country here.

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Rice fell one spot from its No. 16 place on the 2019 list, when it also tied with Cornell. The University of Texas at Austin was the second Texas school on the 2020 list, once again, and moved up one spot from last year. Southern Methodist University in North Texas fell five spots from last year. The University of Houston also fell 14 spots.

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Looking just at public schools, UT was No. 14 nationwide, Texas A&M University was No. 27, and UH came in at No. 92. They all fell from their spots last year. 

On the list of best regional universities in the West, Texas universities fared better. Trinity University in San Antonio scored No. 1, up from last year’s No. 2 spot, and St. Edward’s University in Austin scored No. 8. The University of St. Thomas in Houston came at No. 19, a jump from last year’s No. 26. The University of Houston – Clear Lake was No. 43, another jump from last year’s No. 61. Houston Baptist University was No. 61, compared to last year’s No. 69.

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On the list of best value schools, Rice University was No. 13, one spot higher than it scored last year. The list states that 39 percent of students received grants in 2018, and the average cost after grants in 2018 was $22,276. The total cost of tuition before grants was $65,450. The University of Houston was No. 133 on the best value list. The list states that 53 percent of UH students received grants in 2018, and the average cost after grants was $27,574 — the 27th-most affordable school by that metric on the list of 183 schools. 

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The best value scores were based on ratio of quality to price (60 percent of score), percentage of all undergraduates receiving need-based grants (25 percent of score) and the average discount (15 percent of score).

The overall college lists are ranked based on outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving. The 2020 list considers new factors such as first-generation college students and adds a new ranking of top performers on social mobility. 

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“For more than three decades, we’ve collected and analyzed data on thousands of colleges and universities across the country and helped put schools on the map,” Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News, said in a press release. “We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation. They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”