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Faculty and Staff

NC State Scores Big Jump in National Rankings

NC State again made big gains on one of the most closely watched rankings of the nation’s colleges and universities, achieving high scores for academic excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

The 2016 “Best Colleges” rankings, published by U.S. News & World Report, placed NC State No. 89 among national universities and 37th among public schools, up six spots from last year in both categories.

NC State has been steadily climbing in the rankings in recent years, moving up an impressive 22 places among national universities since 2010. While not unknown, big moves are rarely seen in the U.S. News rankings. The company’s methodology uses measures that tend to resist change, such as peer assessments, graduation and retention rates and financial resources.

With the adoption of the university’s strategic plan in 2011, NC State has been working hard — and effectively — to improve student success, faculty support and organizational efficiency.

It’s paying off.

In this year’s rankings, for example, the university’s six-year graduation rate hit 76 percent, 4 percent better than its predicted rate. In 2012, by comparison, NC State’s graduation rate was 71 percent.

Value and Quality

There was good news for current and prospective students in the rankings. NC State ranked 15th among public schools for graduating students with the least amount of debt. And it ranked among the top 10 best values in public higher education.

The undergraduate program in the Poole College of Management held steady at No. 93 on the U.S. News list, as did the College of Engineering, which ranked 31st nationally for the second year. NC State’s online degree program ranked 82nd nationally.

Momentum Continues

The U.S. News rankings are just the latest sign of momentum at NC State.

Kiplinger’s magazine recently ranked the university among the best values in the nation, and the Princeton Review lauded NC State’s performance across a range of measures in its annual guide to the nation’s top colleges and universities. The publication said NC State was among the “colleges that pay you back” and excelled in student health services, campus enthusiasm for athletics, sustainability and alumni engagement, among other things.

The university was recently lauded by for delivering the best return-on-investment of any public university in the state. NC State graduates earn higher early-career salaries on average than their peers who attended other public universities in North Carolina, PayScale reported.

The momentum is not lost on students and alumni. This fall, NC State welcomed its highest-achieving freshman class ever. And donor giving by alumni and supporters hit an all-time high in the fiscal year ending June 30.

Research funding sponsored by industry and government is also seeing big gains, surpassing a record $300 million in each of the past two years.

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  1. This is great news and would make any student and faculty member proud to be a part of what has been deemed a ‘fine’ University. I say kudos to the University & Administration for their role in achieving this national ranking. It would be even more wonderful to achieve such a ranking as one of the top or ‘best places to work’ for Staff. We are doing well academically, but are in need of much improvement in the areas of employee retention, work-life balance, flexibility (which could include Friday summer hours), time off and employee incentives for remaining in one’s current position or within the University as a whole. What would make this University one of the ‘Best’ Places to Work?

  2. I’m very proud to be a graduate student from NCSU, and I’m feeling even prouder when I knew that the ranking is keep escalating 🙂

    Keep going wolfs 😉

  3. O-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-I-n-g news!! It supports what I have been saying for years. NCSU is indeed one of the Nation’s great universities and research centers … and I mean GREAT! GO NCSU WOLFPACK!! George Eliades, CAE

  4. This is impressive news since our daughter is an incoming freshman this fall.
    It solidifies our decision, and hers, on choosing NCSU for her college experience. We are looking forward to hearing more great things from NCSU. Go Pack!

  5. I tend to dislike a vast majority of these rankings (US News & World Report, Princeton Review, etc.) mainly based on the metrics used to rate schools. They’re highly subjective & schools have been known to try and play with certain aspects of these rankings to better their standing.

    However these are the sort of things that people look at when they’re trying to compare universities in order to make their choice for where they wish to attend college and it was necessary for State to rise in these rankings. Previous university administrations didn’t seem to pay attention to the fact that these rankings (and the positive PR that comes from them) are highly beneficial to how the public perceives a school. Chancellor Woodson & his administration truly seem to get this and as a result we’ve seen our ranking jump 22 spots in this particular publication since 2010 & have been the recipient from an unprecedented level of donations as well.

    NC State is in the best place it’s been in a long time. Go Pack.

    1. What exactly were previous administrations doing at NC State? Did they have their heads buried underneath a pillow? Did they not ever wonder why nearby schools Duke and UNC were always well known nationally, well thought of, and always on the list of schools that top students across the country wanted to attend? Did they not ever wonder why certain schools were considered prestigious while most others were not? Did they not notice that schools like Georgia Tech and Purdue are considered world class engineering schools while nobody ever names NC State to such a list? All of this comes from rankings and public perception.