2024 U.S. News and World Report – National Universities

U.S. News & World Report published its 2024 rankings of national universities earlier today using a new methodology that has significantly changed how the publication weighs various factors as it rates academic programs. The result shifted the rankings for numerous universities nationwide.

Overall, many public institutions rose in the rankings, whereas many private universities dropped under the methodology. Public universities in Texas moved up in the rankings on average 35 places, while private institutions on average dropped about 14 places. The magnitude of these shifts clearly points to changes in the rating formula, not a change in academic quality.

SMU now ranks 89th out of 439 national universities and remains the No. 1 university in North Texas and No. 2 in the state among private universities behind Rice University.

The new methodology removed factors that have historically favored private institutions like SMU, such as small class size, percentage of faculty with terminal degrees, alumni giving, percentage of students who borrowed money to complete their degree, and top of the class high school standings for student recruits – all important academic quality measures.

“While this new methodology has changed SMU’s position in the USNWR rankings, we remain committed to providing a premier education to our students,” President R. Gerald Turner said. “We will continue to focus on delivering a rigorous academic and high-quality collegiate experience that prepares our students to be the world changers of tomorrow.”

The 2024 methodology places greater emphasis on social mobility factors, such as recruiting, retaining, and graduating students who are Pell-eligible and first-generation students, the latter being a new category for this year.

The ongoing SMU Ignited campaign for impact, launched in September 2021, includes a $450 million goal toward expanding scholarships and programs that aim to support all students, with an increased focus on students who are Pell-eligible and first-generation students, to ensure every student succeeds at SMU.

“This campaign illustrates how committed SMU is to increasing already significant investments in programs that attract, retain, and graduate highly meritorious students, regardless of their ability to pay,” said SMU Provost Elizabeth G. Loboa. “While we are already seeing results in our efforts, our strategy remains focused on improving academic and career outcomes across the student lifecycle. This includes efforts to recruit, retain, graduate, and support all students as they pursue their education at the University.”

SMU also earned multiple spots in various categories in the 2024 Best Colleges rankings, including:

  • Best Undergraduate Business – No. 47.
  • Best Colleges for Veterans - National Universities – No. 58.
  • Best Undergraduate Economics – No. 80.