WEB UPDATE: GW misses U.S. News top 50 – again

Posted Friday, Aug. 19, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 2:05 p.m.

GW failed to place in U.S. News and World Report’s annual top 50 national universities rankings for the seventh consecutive year.

After tying Pepperdine and Syracuse universities in the 52nd spot last year, GW slipped to number 53 in the magazine’s 2006 rankings. GW shares that spot with Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The rankings were officially released to the press early Friday morning and will hit newsstands Monday.

The magazine uses several indicators to rank universities, including a school’s peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

U.S. News and World Report Data Research Director Bob Morse pointed out that the indicators are things that the magazine can measure statistically, and the ranking does not take into account subjective criteria.

“(The rankings) are accurate in a sense by just looking at these indicators in themselves,” he said. “It cannot capture what goes on in a classroom or what takes place on the subjective side. There is no way to capture that as a statistic.”

University President Steven Joel Trachtenberg, who has said he thinks GW is growing into “an academic force to be reckoned with,” spent the past few years emphasizing the University’s academic and quality of life needs.

While implementing changes such as fixed tuition for incoming students and devoting more than $100 million to financial aid, as well as constructing two new dormitories and business school and international affairs school buildings, GW has continued to slip in the annual rankings.

The last time GW ranked in the top 50 was in 1998, when it placed 46th.
Morse emphasized, however, that dropping a few spots in the past few years is “not a meaningful change.”

By being ranked 53rd of out 248 universities, GW is in the 21st percentile.

“That puts you in some decent company,” Morse said. “You may not be at the top, but there are a lot more schools that are below you.”

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