New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU drops 10 spots in latest US News rankings

The decline comes after significant changes to the report’s methodology from last year.

NYU dropped in the U.S. News & World Report’s national university rankings for the first time since 2020, falling ten spots from 25th place to 35th.

The downward shift comes after years of the university steadily climbing the rankings; the last time it dropped more than one position on the list was in 2016. NYU currently shares the 35th spot with the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The university also ranked No. 66 in the “Best Value” rankings, in which The New School ranked 189th and Cornell University ranked 20th. Like NYU, The New School dropped in the general rankings — from 127 to 201 — while other New York private schools, such as Columbia University and Cornell, went up. 

NYU spokesperson John Beckman said the ranking used past data that does not consider some university developments, like NYU's move to meet 100% of students' demonstrated financial need and its growing presence abroad, in a statement to WSN.

“Rankings are not science, and they don’t really get at what’s truly important — the right match between students and university, Beckman wrote. “First, ranking universities is a pretty debatable concept to begin with, but it's particularly futile to compare one year's outcomes to the next when there's been a major shift in methodology. Given the extent of the changes U.S. News made — from data sources that don’t reflect our trajectory of improvement to how various metrics were weighted — comparing this year’s outcome to last year’s is an apples-to-oranges exercise.

This year U.S. News removed five factors, which previously contributed to 18% of a university’s ranking, from its methodology: class size, proportion of faculty with the highest achievable degree in their field, alumni giving rate, proportion of borrowing graduates and class standing in high school. A few new factors were added this year, such as the number of graduates earning more than the salary of a high school graduate and first-generation student graduation rates.

U.S. News also slightly increased the weight of several other factors, including student-faculty ratio, number of full-time compared to part-time faculty and borrower debt, and decreased the weight of others, like financial resources and graduation rates.

The report also chose to only consider factors usually available through third-party sources starting this year, in the case that universities could not provide adequate data or opted out of sharing it with the organization. Data not shared with U.S. News through its statistical survey was replaced with older, publicly-available data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. 

The percentage of institutions that submitted data to the report was 79.9% this year, a decline from 83.5% last year. 

In December, NYU’s School of Law — alongside Columbia Law School, Yale Law School, Harvard Law School and seven other law schools in the top 14 nationally — withdrew from the U.S. News rankings over methodology concerns. 

NYU Law administrators have said the rankings did not consider public interest opportunities it offers or student loan relief in their methodology, discouraging students from pursuing careers in public interest law. Leaders at other universities cited concerns over grades, test scores and post-graduation employment being overweighted. 

Update, Sept. 18: This article has been updated with a response from an NYU spokesperson.

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Carmo Moniz
Carmo Moniz, Managing Editor
Carmo Moniz is a junior studying journalism and politics. She enjoys covering city news and dabbling in data journalism, and aspires to one day join the journalism-to-law-school pipeline. When she's not in classes or at the Washington Square News, you can find her looking for a movie to watch or embarking on random art projects. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @carmo_moniz or send tips at [email protected].

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    Bob KatzSep 18, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    While the school has gotten bigger so have the problems and the administration has gotten overwhelmed and does not know what to do.