Texas universities climb ranking in U.S. News & World Report. Here’s who made biggest gain

Public universities like Texas A&M University rose in U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings after the criteria was adjusted because of complaints.

The 2024 Best National Universities list, released Monday, had Texas A&M jump 20 steps to reach the 47th spot out of 439 national universities. The change in ranking, the Washington Post reports, happened because the criteria no longer considers factors like class size or alumni giving when evaluating schools and has started tracking the graduation rates of first-generation college students at the universities.

“For 40 years, students and their families have come to count on Best Colleges as a vital resource as they navigate one of the most important decisions of their lives,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, in a press release. “The significant changes in this year’s methodology are part of the ongoing evolution to make sure our rankings capture what is most important for students as they compare colleges and select the school that is right for them.”

The University of Texas at Dallas climbed 36 spots to 115th nationally. The University of Texas at Austin, also public, ascended slightly — from the 38th spot last year to the 32nd spot. Meanwhile, the University of Houston went up by nearly 50 spots, making No. 133 on the list. Texas Tech was marginally upgraded from 219 to 216.

Rice University, a private research university in Houston, was downgraded by two spots. The 300-acre school went from No. 15 on the 2022 college rankings to No. 17 on this year’s. Southern Methodist University made No. 89, down from No. 72 last year. Baylor University, the private Waco university, was demoted from No. 77 to No. 93 in the national rankings. Texas Christian University declined by nine steps, but still made the top 100 list.

Here are the Texas schools that rose significantly on the list:

  • University of Texas at San Antonio, up by 92 to make No. 280

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, up by 72 to make No. 227

  • The University of Texas at El Paso, up by 68 to make No. 304

  • The University of Texas at Arlington, up by 63 to make No. 236

  • Texas Woman’s University, up by 62 to make No. 332

  • Texas State University, up by 51 to make No. 280

  • University of Houston, Clear Lake, up by 51 to make No. 304