Oswego State rises in U.S. News rankings

U.S. News and Media Group rankings change their criteria for ranking every year, which causes colleges like Oswego to see drastic changes year to year.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
U.S. News and Media Group rankings change their criteria for ranking every year, which causes colleges like Oswego to see drastic changes year to year. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

Oswego State advanced 13 places to No. 56 on the list of best regional universities of the North and is now considered part of the top 15 best public regional universities in the North, according to U.S. News Media Group’s 2015 Best Colleges rankings in early September.

“Today’s favorable rankings by“U.S. News & World Report” are another testament to SUNY’s capacity to deliver on our promises of access, completion and success as we offer one of the best values in higher education anywhere in the country,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said.

Making the top of the list for best public universities of the North is the College of New Jersey.

Among the top regional universities of the North, Oswego State tied for the No. 56 spot with three Pennsylvania schools, Chatham, Mercyhurst and St. Francis universities. Making the top of that list is Villanova University in Pennsylvania and capping off the bottom ranking at No. 201 is the University of North Carolina, which does not include schools that haven’t been given a ranking.

The U.S. News Media Group considers a wide variety of criteria for their college rankings. Each criteria is weighed differently when it is applied to a school’s overall score. Of the score 22.5 percent is peer assessment, 22.5 percent is graduation and retention rates and 20 percent is faculty resources, which are the highest categories that are considered. This, along with 12.5 percent of student selectivity, 10 percent of financial resources, 10 percent of differences between predicted and actual graduation rates and 5 percent of alumni giving are also part of the ranking process.

According to Oswego State Director of Public Affairs Julie Blissert, the main reason why colleges shift around in ranking every year is because even though the schools data is usually stable, the U.S. News Group considers the data differently every year and adjusts the weight of how they apply each categories.

According to U.S. News Media Group, Oswego State received a score of 50 out of 100 because of how Oswego State’s data fit into the criteria of the ranking. The college’s average freshmen retention rate is 80 percent and the classes offered with 20 students or less is 55.6 percent. These factors, among many others, are the reasons behind Oswego State’s ranking score.

Oswego State’s statistics have held constant from last year with the exception of the recognizable peer assessment improvement. According to Blissert, Oswego State’s peer assessments have been closer to a 2.8 out of four point scale in the past, but this year Oswego State’s peer assessment of three points is better or equal to 76 of the 100 institutions included on the list of top regional universities of the North.

“Despite the way in which the U.S. News Group considers their data, Oswego State’s ranking is a testament to their betterment,” Blissert said. “It is an indication that it is growing, although it is hard to tell because the rankings are not as clear cut.”

Blissert pointed out that the advancement in Oswego State’s placement could be from recognition that Oswego State is getting because of the professors, the newly renovated buildings and the emphasis on small classes.

“We don’t try to manipulate the college to fit the criteria of the rankings, but we try to provide the best education we can and the U.S. News is also looking at what is the best education, they overlap,” Blissert said.