U.S. News and World Report's annual lists ranking U.S. colleges and universities are out.
No Arizona school was ranked this year among the top 100 "national universities." The publication gives that designation to public and private institutions that offer "a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs" and emphasize "groundbreaking research."
Arizona State University was ranked 105th among national universities and held onto its title as America's most innovative school for the ninth year in a row. It ranked 51st among the country's public schools and 159th for best value.
The University of Arizona ranked 115th on the national universities list. It was in 58th place among the country's public schools and 119th on the best value list.
Northern Arizona University placed 249th among national universities. It was in 135th place among America's public schools.
Grand Canyon University does not provide U.S. News and World Report with data, GCU spokesperson Bob Romantic said, so any ranking it is assigned is "arbitrary." Nevertheless, the state's largest private postsecondary school was placed by U.S. News near the end of the national universities list.
Where smaller Arizona institutions ranked
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College in Prescott ranked first among regional colleges in the Western U.S., which U.S. News describes as schools focusing on undergraduates and granting fewer than half of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. Embry-Riddle was also ranked the best college for veterans among its peer schools of regional colleges in the western U.S.
Arizona Christian College took 18th place on the regional colleges in the West list and came in 13th place for best value among those peers.
The University of Advancing Technology, a for-profit school in Tempe, came in 27th place among regional colleges and was named a top performer for social mobility among those schools.
Meanwhile, Prescott College ranked 90th among regional universities in the West, which U.S. News says are schools that offer "a full range of undergraduate programs and some master's programs but few doctoral programs." The college also came in 48th for social mobility on the regional universities in the West list.
Do college rankings actually matter?
College rankings are designed to help prospective students and their parents determine which schools are worth attending and may be a good fit, but they are often criticized.
The U.S. News and World Report rankings are among the most popular and publicized. The publication's methodology includes student retention and graduation rates, borrower debt, the opinions of fellow college leaders and factors evaluating a university's faculty and their research.
That methodology is usually tweaked annually. This year, U.S. News and World Report researchers increased the ranking's emphasis on graduate outcomes and social mobility.
Still, some university officials and higher education experts say the ratings aren't all they promise to be. GCU has long refused to participate in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, criticizing it for focusing heavily on universities' reputations.
"They do not measure things that we think are important to higher education," Romantic said.
In recent years, some other universities have also pulled out of the ranking process. Columbia University announced in June that it would not submit data to the U.S. News and World Report this year, as did the law schools at Harvard University and Yale University last year.
Arizona's public universities tied with many other institutions
Several Arizona schools tied with other institutions on the national universities list.
At 105th place, ASU tied with:
California State University — Long Beach
The City College of New York
George Mason University
Saint Louis University
San Diego State University
University of Colorado — Boulder
University of Tennessee — Knoxville
In 115th place, the University of Arizona tied with:
Brigham Young University
Iowa State University of Science and Technology
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
University of New Hampshire
University of San Francisco
The University of Texas at Dallas
University of Utah
In 249th place, NAU tied with:
Maryville University of St. Louis
North Dakota State University
Sam Houston State University
Tennessee Tech University
University of Maine
University of Wisconsin — La Crosse
Sasha Hupka covers higher education for The Arizona Republic. Do you have a tip on Arizona's universities, community colleges or trade schools? Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter: @SashaHupka. Follow her on Instagram or Threads: @sashahupkasnaps.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: College rankings are out. How did Arizona schools fare?