Office of Planning and Budgeting

The University of Washington is ranked #25 in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. While other top U.S. universities have slipped in the rankings, the UW maintains its #25 position for the second year in a row. For the first time in the history of the THE rankings, neither of the top two universities are in the U.S.

The THE World University Rankings were first published in 2004. This year’s rankings list 1,000 universities around the world.

Five categories contribute to a university’s ranking score. Of these, teaching (measured by reputation survey, student-faculty ratio, and number of doctoral degrees), research (measured by reputation survey, research income, and publication count), and citations combine to account for 90 percent of the score. The UW scores particularly highly in the citation category, measured as the number of times a university’s researchers are cited by other scholars. The UW’s #17 ranking in citations, with a score of 99.0 out of 100, contributes to its high overall score. In contrast, the UW’s scores in international outlook and industry income—which together account for 10 percent of the overall ranking—are lower in comparison with other top universities.

More information about the Times Higher Ed methodology is available on their website.

The UW is also ranked highly on this year’s U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list, coming in at #56 among national universities and #18 among public universities. While this represents a slight drop from last year’s #16 ranking among public universities, it continues a long run of being listed among the top 20.

The U.S. News rankings are calculated using seven categories of data: graduation and retention rates; assessment surveys of academic peers and high school guidance counselors; faculty resources; admissions selectivity; per-student spending; performance relative to predicted graduation rate; and alumni donations. Along with the overall university rankings, U.S. News also calculates several more specific lists. The UW ranked highly for undergraduate engineering programs (#11 among doctorate-granting public universities), best colleges for veterans (#11 among public universities), and undergraduate business programs (#14 among public universities).

More information about the U.S. News methodology is available on their website.

The UW’s recognition in these rankings follows the Academic Ranking of World Universities (which ranked the UW #13 in the world) and the Center for World University Rankings (which gave the UW top-10 rankings in 45 subject categories), both published earlier in 2017.

The University of Washington is ranked #13 among world universities on the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). While the UW has consistently ranked among the top 20 universities each year since the ARWU was first published, this year’s ranking is the highest it has achieved to date.

The ARWU was first published in 2003 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for World-Class Universities. Since 2009, the ranking has been published by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, which is not affiliated with any university. This year, the ARWU ranked 1300 universities around the world, and published the list of the top 500.

Like the recently-published Center for World University Rankings list, the ARWU calculates its rankings based on a university’s external recognition. The components of the ARWU ranking include: total number of alumni and faculty winning major awards; number of highly-cited researchers employed; and counts the number of papers published and cited. The UW scores especially highly in the number of faculty-authored articles indexed in major science and social-science citation indices. In contrast, the number of UW alumni awarded Nobel Prizes or Fields Medals is lower when compared with other top universities. More information about the ARWU’s methodology is available on their website.

In addition to their overall rankings, the ARWU also publishes subject rankings in a number of fields in the natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences, and social sciences. The UW’s highest subject rankings in 2017 include: public health (#3 in the world), dentistry and oral sciences (#3), biological sciences (#5), and biomedical engineering (#5).

More information about the UW’s past rankings in the ARWU is available here.

OPB has released two new briefs.

The first brief focuses on trends in Resident Undergraduate (RUG) tuition rates and state funding environments across the United States, based on the most recent “Trends in College Pricing” report, which is released by the College Board each year. The report identifies Washington as the only state to have lower RUG tuition and fee rates than it did five years ago.

The report serves as a basis for a deep dive into the funding environments of some other case studies. The brief looks at Louisiana, Florida and Ohio as comparisons to Washington, as they are the three other states whose legislatures retain RUG tuition setting authority. Despite this fact, each state has had a variety of outcomes regarding tuition policy. California and Maine are also highlighted as case study comparisons because they are the only two other states to show a decrease in tuition over the past five years, though theirs are due to inflation-adjusted tuition freezes.

The second brief is an updated version of previous “Published Price vs. Net Price” briefs, which reflects the newest available data. The brief includes sector-wide data on increases in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges, a description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred tuition increases, and a table comparing the UW’s net price net price for resident undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid to its U.S. News & World Report top 25 research university peers.

Finally, it is with subdued excited that to announce that these two briefs and blog post will be my last contribution to OPB as an intern. I am graduating tomorrow from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, while taking a job down at the State Capitol in Olympia. Thanks to all for reading!

The Center for World University Rankings has ranked the University of Washington among the top universities in the world. In its inaugural Rankings by Subject, released last week, CWUR ranked the UW in the top 10 worldwide in a total of 45 subject categories. The UW had the ninth-most top-10 appearances of any university, ranking just behind the University of Oxford (47 top-10 appearances) and just ahead of MIT (41).

Unlike most university rankings, CWUR does not make use of data provided by universities themselves. Instead, the CWUR Rankings by Subject are calculated based on the number of research articles published in top-tier journals by an institution’s faculty. CWUR ranked a total of 227 subject areas.

The UW’s top-10 rankings included fields from Acoustics (6th) to Women’s Studies (5th). In all, the UW received top-5 rankings in 22 fields, and its Social Work program was ranked #1 in the world.

More information on CWUR’s methodology is available on their website.

On December 15, 2016, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance released its 2017 list of the top 300 “Best College Values.” Kiplinger’s ranks their top 100 public universities based on both in-state and out-of-state cost of attendance. The University of Washington was ranked #12 among public universities in value for in-state students and #24 among public universities in value for out-of-state students. This continues a history of high rankings for the UW. Over the past five years, the UW has ranked #17 or better for in-state state students, and #28 or better for out-of-state students, each year.

The calculations for Kiplinger’s rankings are based on quality criteria (which account for 55 percent of an institution’s overall ranking) and cost criteria (which account for the remaining 45 percent). Quality criteria include:

  • Measures of competitiveness and selectivity (admission rate, percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll, and ACT and SAT scores of incoming freshman);
  • Four-year graduation rate; and
  • Measures of academic support (freshman retention rate and student-to-faculty ratio).

Cost criteria include:

  • Total cost (including tuition and fees as well as books and room and board, with added points for “schools that reduce the price through need-based [grant] aid” or “knock down the price through non-need-based aid”) and
  • Student indebtedness (students’ average debt at graduation and the percentage of students who borrow).

Because public institutions typically have different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, Kiplinger’s provides two separate rankings. While the quality criteria used in both rankings are the same, only in-state students’ cost of attendance factors into the in-state ranking (and likewise for the out-of-state ranking).

As the Kiplinger’s ranking is based on selectiveness, academic outcomes, and cost, it should not be interpreted as either a “best colleges” list or a “most affordable” list. Among the top 10 public institutions for in-state students, for example, some institutions (e.g., College of William and Mary) are highly selective but more expensive, while others (e.g., University of Florida) have more inclusive admissions and lower four-year graduation rates but are more affordable.

For in-state students, the UW compares strongly with the highest-ranked public institutions on measures of affordability. For example, the UW’s cost of attendance for in-state students, after applying need-based aid, is $7,800 per year. The average cost among the top 10 in-state is 50 percent higher, at $11,700. UW students’ average debt at graduation is also lower, by about $2,000, than the average for top-10 institutions. Although the UW’s admit rate is higher and its four-year graduation rate is lower than some other top institutions’, its relative affordability contributes to a strong ranking (#12 in the nation) for in-state students.

The UW’s higher cost for out-of-state students contributes to an out-of-state ranking of #24. For out-of-state students, the UW’s cost of attendance after need-based aid ($31,800) is slightly higher than the average among top-10 institutions ($31,300).

More information about Kiplinger’s methodology is available on their website.

The Office of Planning & Budgeting has recently published new peer tuition comparisons for the 2016-17 academic year. The new tuition comparisons allow you to see UW tuition rates alongside those of peer institutions.

In the past, OPB has published tuition comparisons for Global Challenge State (GCS) peer institutions. However, more recently OPB has moved away from GCS peer comparisons toward comparisons based on the US News & World Report ranking of Top Public Schools. The 2017 US News ranking is available now (the UW is ranked #16 in the nation). The US News peer comparison group includes all public Research 1 (R1) universities ranked #25 or better; because of ties, and because not all top-25 universities are in the R1 category, there may be more or fewer than 25 institutions in this peer comparison group each year. (In order to make comparisons across time, historical averages are calculated based on the 2017 US News peer list, not the US News list current at the time.)

Comparisons include undergraduate, graduate, MBA, PharmD, law, medicine, and dentistry tuition rates for both resident and nonresident students. Most data are provided through the Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE). For peer institutions that are not part of AAUDE, we found tuition data on the universities’ websites.

For each tuition category, we provide a list of current tuition rates at each institution, along with a chart comparing UW tuition against the peer group average over the past 5 years. This allows you to look at both the UW’s current rates as well as recent trends, side by side with peers. For example, the UW’s resident undergraduate tuition rate is well below the peer average, partially due to tuition decreases in the last two years. Nonresident undergraduate tuition rates, on the other hand, have tracked closely with the peer average (remaining within 5% of the average over the past five years).

You can see more in the peer tuition comparison file, and find other comparisons on OPB’s Peer Comparisons page. Please contact OPB Institutional Analysis at uwir@uw.edu with any questions.

OPB’s Institutional Analysis team and UW-IT’s Enterprise Information, Integration & Analytics unit announce seven new peer finance dashboards, available now in UW Profiles. These new dashboards join four existing peer dashboards. Peer dashboards use data publicly available through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to allow users to compare the UW to peer institutions around the country on a range of student- and finance-focused measures.

With the new finance dashboards, users can compare revenues, expenses, and endowment values at the UW and peer institutions. They can also explore the relative importance of different revenue sources and expense categories across institutions. The expenses story dashboard provides a step-by-step look at the expenses that directly or indirectly support universities’ research and instruction missions.

More information about each of the new peer finance dashboards is available through the online documentation. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to uwprofiles@uw.edu.

The rising costs of college are a popular subject for everyone from presidential candidates to media outlets. Parents and students blanche as published tuition prices climb ever higher. But the published price – often referred to as the “sticker price” for colleges – offers a misleading picture of the cost of higher education. OPB has updated our brief to reflect the newest available data on published price vs. net price. Highlights include:

  • Sector-wide data on increases in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges
  • A description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred tuition increases
  • A table of the top 25 research universities’ net price for resident undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid

Our updated brief is accessible here.

 

The 2016 edition of UW Fast Facts is now available.  You can find it on the OPB website, under the UW Data tab and in the Quicklinks bar on the left, or you can access it directly at UW Fast Facts.

Thank you to OPB’s Institutional Analysis team and to our partners around the UW for their work to gather, verify and crosscheck data; format the document; and pull it all together.

Please contact Becka Johnson Poppe or Stephanie Harris if you have any questions.

A recent story in the LA Times, “UC seeks to boost Californians’ enrollment by 10,000 by 2018,” outlined the University of California’s plan to expand resident undergraduate enrollment at their nine undergraduate campuses. Like many U.S. public universities that have faced significant state divestment during the recession, the UC system has enrolled more nonresident students in recent years to help cover funding cuts and keep resident tuition increases to a minimum. To adjust this trend, the California Legislature recently increased its investment in the UC system by $25 million to partially fund the enrollment of 5,000 additional resident undergraduate students by no later than 2016-17.  To pay for an additional 5,000 enrollments proposed by UC, system President Janet Napolitano plans to phase out aid for low-income non-resident students and request additional funding from the California Legislature. Napolitano was quoted as assuming the legislature would “continue to support access for California students.”

According to the article, UC officials are now “working through the logistics of housing, laboratory availability, and classroom sizes.” The increase in undergraduate students will also necessitate enrolling 600 more graduate students for instruction and lab support.

The University of Washington has faced similar financial pressures as a result of the recession, but remains committed to providing Washington students with affordable, quality higher education.

  • The UW continues to fully fund Husky Promise, which covers, at minimum, tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students who qualify for the Pell Grant or State Need Grant.
  • Since 2009-10, the UW has increased incoming enrollment of resident undergraduates by more than 1000 students at its three campuses.
  • During the recession, the UW increased its contribution to institutional financial aid in order to maintain access for students with the most financial need.
  • The percentage of Pell-eligible students at the UW rose from less than 20 percent in 2007-08 to 29 percent in 2014-15.

With over 188,000 undergraduate students in the UC system, the plan would increase their undergraduate enrollment by over 5 percent. To achieve a similar overall increase, the UW would need to add approximately 2000 students and would face significant barriers in doing so. Unlike the UC system, UW does not provide need-based aid for non-resident undergraduate students, and thus would not be able to cut that non-resident aid funding to pay for additional resident enrollment. Additionally, all three campuses are nearly at capacity without significant capital investment.

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