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UMass Moves Up in Ranking of Public Universities

AMHERST — UMass Amherst now ranks among the nation’s top 30 public universities, moving up 10 spots during the past year in the 2015 Best Colleges guide released recently by U.S. News & World Report.

There are more than 600 public, four-year colleges in the country, and U.S. News ranks the top 122. The Commonwealth’s flagship campus, led by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, earned its highest ranking ever in the prestigious national universities category. Since 2010, when UMass Amherst ranked 52nd among public schools, the university’s standing has steadily improved, reaching 40th last year before advancing to 30th for 2015, tied with four other schools.

Among all national universities, public and private, UMass Amherst moved up an impressive 15 places this year, from 91st to 76th, tied with eight other schools. A Washington Post analysis of the rankings cited UMass Amherst as one of only three national universities over the past five years that have risen more than 20 steps in the overall top 100 universities, from 99th to 76th.

“UMass Amherst increasingly is a destination of choice for the best students in Massachusetts and from all corners of world,” said Subbaswamy. “These rankings reflect our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. We greatly appreciate such national recognition, and we are grateful for the increased investment in public higher education supported by our legislators and the governor. That investment is truly yielding dividends.”

Led this year by the University of California Berkeley, the University of California Los Angeles, and the University of Virginia, national public universities offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and are committed to producing groundbreaking research. The U.S. News rankings are based on a variety of weighted factors: graduation rate performance, undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources, graduation and retention rate, alumni giving, financial resources, and student selectivity.

This fall, UMass Amherst again welcomed its most academically accomplished entering class. More than 37,000 students applied for admission, a 4% increase over the prior year. Applications have more than doubled since fall 2004. The academic profile of the entering class is at another historic high, continuing a record-setting trend. SAT scores increased by about 10 points to 1,218 compared to the previous year, and high-school grade-point average increased from 3.73 to 3.78. On average, the high-school rank improved, with students ranking, on average, in the top 20% their high-school class. The entering class includes 4,650 students, slightly more than last year.

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