UT rises in U.S. News university rankings, remains top Texas public university

Benita Lee

The nationwide rank of UT’s undergraduate program rose one spot in the newest edition of the US News and World Report released last week.

The University was ranked No. 49 nationally and No. 15 among public universities in the 2019 report, and is now ranked No. 48 and No. 14, respectively. UT was also ranked by US News as the top public university in Texas again this year.

According to US News, the rankings are based on multiple factors, including faculty resources, expert opinions and financial resources. University spokesperson J.B. Bird said the rankings help the public associate a UT degree with the university’s undergraduate experience, professors and selective admissions.

“We try not to focus on rankings at UT Austin,” Bird said. “We try to focus on excellence overall (and) rankings are just a reflection of how people rate that. We try to take away from them the underlying factors in their rankings that we think are really important for our students.” 

Other factors considered by US News include graduation rates, which has risen at UT from 52% to 69.8% in the past six years, according to the UT News press release. Bird said the University has worked to improve graduation rates by establishing programs such as First-Year Interest Groups, Reading Round-Up and the University Leadership Network for first-year students. 

“I feel very welcome here,” government freshman Audra Garcia said. “A lot of organizations approach you on Speedway. There are always invites to events with free food and FIGs help a lot to have a family here on campus.” 

In the same US News report, UT ranked No. 14 nationally for first-year student experience, No. 16 in undergraduate research and creative projects and No. 12 among the country’s most innovative schools.  

“(These rankings are) particularly impressive because a lot of small to mid-sized universities get top rankings in those areas, and very few public universities do,” Bird said. 

Bird said the University’s emphasis on undergraduate research provides an opportunity for students to engage in hands-on opportunities.  

“The UT alumni network is very large and supportive.” said Andrew Hourigan, a science and technology management junior. “And the faculty care a lot. Since we’re at a school where everyone cares, then the professors care about our learning. People are very genuine, and they care not just about your progress, but our progress in the school.”