WCU Places Solidly in 2024 U.S. News Rankings
U.S. News’ latest college rankings reflect significant changes in their methodology. They also adjusted for an error in their calculations impacting the predicted graduation rate performance metric for schools that had changed U.S. News ranking categories (Carnegie Classification), including West Chester University, which changed Carnegie Classification to R2 (Research 2) Institution.
For 2024, U.S. News ranks WCU #209 overall out of 435 national universities that include the Ivy League schools plus MIT, Drexel, Northwestern, and others.
Among top public schools, WCU ranks #112 out of 227. WCU is tied with Florida Atlantic University, Illinois State University, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, putting WCU in the top half of institutions.
In the U.S. News category for Top Performers on Social Mobility, WCU is listed at #222 out of 434.
Overall, WCU made two other lists: Best Value Schools #111 out of 211; and Best Colleges for Veterans #147 out of 176.
How WCU Compares to Other Public R2 Universities
When all the R1 and R3 institutions in the U.S. News National Universities category are removed, there are 128 R2 institutions including WCU; of these, 91 are public R2s.
WCU’s Office of Institutional Research examined the U.S. News data and identified interesting points that prove WCU remains not only competitive with peer institutions, but also excels.
- U.S. News predicted WCU’s graduation rate is 63% but our actual rate is 72%. Our over-performance of 9 percentage points ranks us #16 out of 128, placing us in the top 13% of institutions.
- Among all 128 R2 institutions, WCU’s fall first-year student retention percentage of 82% ranks us #46 out of 128 institutions, putting us in the top 36% of these institutions.
- Looking at only the public R2s (91 institutions), WCU’s first-year retention rate places us at #17; our graduation rate places us at #8; and our Pell grant recipient graduation rate places us at #13.
WCU’s ranking is relative to other institutions: It is not only determined by our own performance on measures, but how other institutions perform on those measures.
In total, U.S. News collected data on more than 1,800 institutions and ranked nearly 1,500 schools.
U.S. News calculated rankings using 19 key measures of academic quality for National Universities. Five ranking factors that were in the previous edition’s formula – alumni giving, class size, high school class standing, the proportion of instructional faculty with terminal degrees, and the proportion of graduates who borrowed federal loans – were removed from the formula to place greater focus on outcomes measures and to rely on data universally reported by schools or obtainable from third-party sources. U.S. News increased the emphasis on how often schools’ students from all socioeconomic backgrounds earned degrees and took advantage of information on graduate outcomes that was not available until recently.