U.S. News ranks U.Va. second
Commerce School maintains fifth place among undergraduate business schools
The University maintained its position as the second best public university in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report rankings released Wednesday. The McIntire School of Commerce kept its number-five ranking among undergraduate business schools.
The University has held the number-two spot behind the University of California-Berkeley for the last nine years, according to a University press release. The University’s second-place spot is a reflection of its “selectivity, its high graduation rate and high retention rate for first-year students and the overall reputation of the undergraduate experience,” University spokesperson Carol Wood said in an email.
Despite its high ranking, the University has become ground zero in a national debate about the future of public higher education — a system plagued by declining state appropriations and uncertainty about its model and mission. One challenge on the horizon for the University is a growing student population. Wood said the University will add about 300 undergraduates each year for the next five years to accommodate Gov. Bob McDonnell’s efforts to increase the number of Virginia college graduates.
“We want to continue to maintain our intimate undergraduate experience,” Wood said.
Financial aid poses another hurdle. The University, which placed 24th on the U.S. News & World Report National University rankings, ranked 53rd in financial resources — the lowest among top 25 schools. To finance more and more students while retaining its high national ranking “will require investment, which the General Assembly has so far provided,” Wood said.
Although the U.S. News & World Report list kept the Commerce School at last year’s ranking of fifth in the country, Businessweek has consistently given the Commerce School a ranking of number two or higher.
“I think the Businessweek rankings are much more in-depth than those of U.S. News,” Commerce School spokesperson James Travisano said. U.S. News & World Report surveys deans and senior faculty at each accredited undergraduate business program, according to its website.
The Businessweek rankings are compiled similarly using surveys administered to students, recruiters and the Commerce School, Travisano said.
The rankings were not a top priority for the Commerce School, Travisano said, and the same holds true for the University at large.
“We don’t manage or teach to influence rankings,” Wood said.
Heidi Collins contributed to this report.