SMU jumps to highest ranking ever in US News’ ‘Best Colleges’

Dallas Hall with US News ranking iconSMU advanced to its highest ranking ever among national universities in the 2011 edition of Best Colleges published Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, by U.S. News Media Group.

SMU ranked 56th among 191 institutions included in the top tier of national universities. SMU’s ranking represents an increase from 68th in 2010, up from 73rd in 2004.

The only universities in Texas ranked ahead of SMU in the 2011 guide are Rice, ranked 17th, and the University of Texas-Austin, ranked 45th.

“Although ranking universities is a controversial venture at best, the recognition given our outstanding students and faculty, small classes, strong graduation rates and committed alumni is gratifying,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The timing is particularly relevant as we prepare to celebrate the University’s centennial, beginning next year, and as we remain committed to achievement at the highest levels.”

Rankings of more than 1,400 institutions, including national universities and liberal arts colleges, are available beginning Aug. 17 at, and will be published in the U.S. News & World Report issue available on newsstands starting August 31.

The U.S. News rankings group schools based on the categories established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Over the past two decades, these rankings have served as research tools for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

The 2011 Best Colleges package provides an examination of how accredited four-year colleges and universities compare on a set of up to 16 indicators of excellence. Among the factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality are: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, graduation rate performance and high school counselor ratings of colleges.