MU falls in annual U.S. News college rankings

Friday, September 14, 2012 | 8:06 p.m. CDT; updated 8:03 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 15, 2012

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri has tied with three other universities for 97th place in the national universities category of the 2013 U.S. News & World Report college rankings.

MU dropped seven spots, from No. 90 last year. The university tied this year with Florida State University, University of Colorado Boulder and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The 2013 edition of the Best Colleges rankings was released Wednesday, listing national universities and national liberal arts colleges.

The top schools on the national universities list remained Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia and University of Chicago.

Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University of Oklahoma, the University of Tennessee and University of California-Riverside were all tied at No. 101.

Among the 16 criteria listed on the magazine website are peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, average admissions test scores, financial resources and alumni donations.

In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, a national university has master's and doctoral programs, offers a full range of undergraduate majors and is committed to research.

Areas where MU showed weakness this year were in spending per student and faculty resources — two issues likely related to funding, said the magazine's director of data research, Robert Morse.

He said the data does not take the condition of the university budget into account.

"I would say there were modest decreases," he said about the MU ranking. "They were large enough even though they were not significant to result in the school's rank falling that much."

The university does keep track of the yearly rankings, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

For the past nine years, MU has been ranked in the top 100, Basi said.

This year's ranking falls within the normal range of the past five years, he said, where MU has been ranked anywhere from 90 to 102.

Among public universities, MU ranked No. 42; last year, the ranking was No. 39.

MU's School of Law ranked No. 79 this year, after dropping from No. 65 to No. 93 in 2011.

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