Best Colleges report gives UD, Miami high marks. Here’s why.

Miami strong in undergraduate teaching; University of Dayton lauded for value, after financial aid is factored in.

Miami University and the University of Dayton were among the colleges and universities who were ranked highly in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” report, which came out this week.

Miami University ranked 105th out of 443 in the national universities category — schools that offer undergraduate through doctoral programs and are committed to research. Miami also was ranked 48th among public schools.

The University of Dayton ranked 127th out of 443 national universities and also was ranked 35th on U.S. News’ list of “Best Value Schools.” That category is for schools that reported sufficient financial aid data to U.S. News and that also ranked in the top half of their “best colleges” category.

Miami was ranked 18th overall (and fifth among public schools) in Best Undergraduate Teaching, tied with Arizona State and Harvard. The “Best Undergraduate Teaching” category is based solely on nominations from presidents and administrators at other universities who participated in U.S. News’ peer assessment survey.

“Our faculty and staff create experiences in and out of the classroom that prepare students to thrive in a global society,” Miami President Gregory Crawford said. “To be recognized as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation reflects our commitment to student success and academic excellence.”

Some researchers have criticized U.S. News’ rankings, saying they focus on the wrong things, or that the universities try to “game” their rankings since they know what metrics are used.

College admissions analysts often advise students to focus on finding a college that is the right fit for them — whether based on a specific academic program, cost, school size, location, or on-campus “feel” — rather than just following rankings.

Universities must nominate themselves and provide their own data to U.S. News & World Report for the national university portion. U.S. News uses a variety of factors to rank schools, according to the methodology explanation, including undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources including class sizes, and financial aid.

Universities will also self-nominate for consideration in Best Value Schools. Need-based aid, scholarships and grants and quality of the school were factors in determining the ranks.

U.S. News and World Report “Best Colleges” rankings

National universities (443 listed)

1 — Princeton (N.J.)

44 — Case Western (top Ohio)

49 — Ohio State

105 — Miami

127 — Dayton

331-440 — Wright State

National liberal arts colleges (210 listed)

1 — Williams (Mass.)

31 — Kenyon (top Ohio)

147 — Wittenberg

Unranked — Antioch College

Regional universities Midwest (167 listed)

1 — Butler U. (Indiana)

2 — John Carroll (top Ohio)

15 — Cedarville

Regional colleges Midwest (86 listed)

1 — Cottey College (Mo.)

4 — Ohio Northern (top Ohio)

26 — Wilmington

49 — Miami U-Hamilton

56 — Miami U-Middletown

58-76 — Central State

58-76 — Wilberforce

Undergraduate teaching (only 78 national universities listed)

1 — Elon (N.C.)

18 — Miami (top Ohio)

41 — Bowling Green

54 (tie) — Ohio State

54 (tie) — Dayton

Best value schools (223 listed)

1 — Harvard

35 — Dayton (top Ohio)

92 — Ohio U.

204 — Ohio State

212 — Miami

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