Pitt drops slightly in U.S. News rankings, but makes it onto Most Innovative Schools list

Pitt’s standing in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, released earlier this month, dropped slightly from last year, and included a first-time showing in the list of Most Innovative Schools.

Overall, Pitt ranked 70th in National Universities — a tie with Florida State, Fordham in New York City, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., University of California–Santa Cruz and University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Last year, Pitt came in at 68th.

Princeton and Harvard took the top two spots, with Columbia, Yale, MIT and University of Chicago tying for third.

In the public colleges listing, Pitt ranked 26th, down from 24th last year.

This year, U.S. News & World Report made some changes in the methodology for its rankings, including making student outcomes the most dominant factor — accounting for 35 percent of the rankings, up from 30 percent last year.

Also new this year, U.S. News added two indicators measuring graduation rates among Pell Grant recipients as compared to those who don’t receive Pell Grants, which the magazine says is an indication of social mobility. Pell Grants are given to students from families with a household income that is typically less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000, according to U.S. News.

The new indicators are weighted at 5 percent and reward schools that are successful at graduating students from low-income households.

For Pitt, the difference in six-year graduation rates was 84 percent for non-Pell Grant students and 74 percent for Penn Grant recipients.

It was the fourth year that the Most Innovative Schools were included in the rankings. Pitt squeaked onto the bottom of the list at 55th, tying with Penn State, University of Florida and the University of South Carolina. Arizona State–Tempe, Georgia State and MIT were at the top of the list.

Other Pitt rankings include: