William & Mary continues to have the highest alumni giving rate of any public university and moved up among the top 10 institutions for undergraduate teaching, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report today.
At 21%, William & Mary has the highest alumni giving rate of any national public university and is tied at 18th among all national universities, according to the “2022-2023 Best Colleges” report. Additionally, the university is seventh in the nation (tied) for undergraduate teaching and is tied at 21st among best schools for veterans.
Overall, William & Mary is tied at 13th among the best public universities and tied at 41st among all national institutions. The university also appears on several focused lists in the report, including best first-year experience programs (49th tied), best undergraduate business programs (51st tied) and best undergraduate computer science programs (65th tied).
The U.S. News rankings are the latest of several published in recent months that examine multiple aspects of colleges and universities – from their reputation to their commitment to service – and W&M has been highlighted in many of them.
A new ranking from Morning Consult lists William & Mary as the top most trusted public university in the country and 12th among all of the nation’s top 135 doctoral institutions. Based on a survey of more than 11,000 U.S. adults, the report says that the most trusted universities “exhibit a high level of brand awareness owing to a variety of factors including longevity, highly regarded faculty, successful alumni and public engagement.”
Last month, Princeton Review published its own guide to the best colleges. In that report, William & Mary was included on several lists highlighting the student experience. The university ranked fourth for race and class interaction, fifth among colleges that students love, sixth for students most engaged in community services and ninth for the happiest students. W&M also ranked 13th for LGBTQ-friendly institutions and 13th for best quality of life.
Several of the university’s facilities and support services were also highlighted by Princeton Review. William & Mary ranked eighth for science lab facilities, 10th for college libraries and 18th for career services.
Earlier this year, William & Mary was highlighted in Princeton Review’s “Best Value Colleges” report. In that guide, the university was named the top public institution in the nation for internships. W&M was also included among the top public schools making an impact (seventh) and the schools with the best alumni networks (16th).
Just as Princeton Review recently recognized W&M’s commitment to service, so did Washington Monthly. In its list of the best colleges for student voting, W&M had the fifth-highest rate of any public institution and 16th-highest overall. The university also ranked 12th for service in Washington Monthly’s 2022 College Guide.
Forbes also recently released its own college rankings. In those, W&M is ranked 15th among public universities and 41st overall. Earlier this summer, Forbes published a ranking of best employers by state. In that report, W&M ranked 13th among employers in Virginia.
More rankings are available on the W&M website.
Finances and methodology
According to its press release, the U.S. News rankings take a look at 1,500 colleges and universities and evaluate them on up to 17 measures of academic quality, with an emphasis on outcome measures. Major changes in methodology, in addition to the reality of financial challenges, have impacted W&M’s overall score in recent years.
W&M’s financial resources rank this year is 105th, the second lowest ranking among all of the top 50 national universities. However, that position is due in part to the decision to hold tuition flat for students in recent years. While an important step to support W&M students and families, especially given the financial challenges experienced by many during the pandemic, and recent rising inflation, the decision has had an impact on the timeline for key priorities like hiring and larger increases in need-based financial aid.
Financial resources make up 10% of a university’s total score in the U.S. News ranking. The ranking is determined by comparing total expenditures on student enrollment to such things as instruction, research and academic support.
In recent years, U.S. News also made major changes to its methodology, de-emphasizing areas such as graduation and retention rates and adding a new metric focused on Pell enrollment. In 2018, U.S. News added a score of social mobility, which accounts for 5% of the overall score. The following year, U.S. News removed the high school counselor ranking, which used to account for 7.5% of the overall score.
William & Mary has among the best graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients – 90% percent within six years, well above the national average. However, it has acknowledged a key improvement area is increasing its number of Pell Grant recipients and has been taking steps toward that end. The number of in-state Pell Grant recipients at W&M has been increasing steadily over the past few years — more than 15% since 2016.
In addition, W&M has taken several other steps to increase the socioeconomic diversity of its student body. They include the expansion of need-based financial aid, expanded fee waivers for first-generation or Pell-eligible students, the W&M Promise Scholars Program with Richard Bland College and the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation.
Erin Zagursky, Senior Associate Director of University News