Tulane University jumped 13 spots this year in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of the nation’s top undergraduate universities.
This year’s list, which came out Wednesday, placed Tulane in a tie with five other schools for the No. 41 ranking, up from No. 54 last year. It was the only Louisiana university to crack the top 100.
Bob Morse, U.S. News’ chief data strategist, credited Tulane’s climb in the latest rankings in part to an improved graduation rate, which rose to 83 percent in 2014 from 76 percent the year before.
In a prepared statement, Tulane President Michael Fitts said, “Rankings such as this should always be taken with a grain of salt,” but he called the jump in status “a testament to the hard work and determination of everyone at Tulane.”
The 2016 edition of the magazine’s top college rankings includes data on nearly 1,800 colleges and ranks schools on as many as 16 measures of academic quality, with graduation and retention rates carrying the most weight.
Princeton University in New Jersey was again named the nation’s best university. The University of California at Berkeley was the top public school among universities.
LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge was ranked at No. 129, while Louisiana Tech University in Ruston landed at No. 199.
Loyola University ranked at No. 11 among the best regional universities in the South.
Among the nine schools it considers its peer institutions, Tulane ranked behind Duke (8); Vanderbilt and Washington University in St. Louis (tied at 15); Rice (18); Emory (21); Carnegie Mellon (23); and Wake Forest (27). Behind Tulane were the University of Miami (51) and George Washington (57).
Last year, Tulane’s undergraduate enrollment was nearly 8,350 students. Tuition and fees added up to more than $49,600 per year. The average need-based financial aid package awarded to first-year students was more than $40,500, according to the university.