UMSL climbs in latest US News & World Report rankings, remains top performer on social mobility

U.S. News & World Report rankings

UMSL climbed 14 spots to No. 126 nationally among public research universities in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, released Monday. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis was established in 1963 to educate a diverse group of students in the state’s largest and most economically important region, and it is constantly working to improve at fulfilling that mission.

The latest U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges Rankings,” unveiled on Monday, are a testament to that continued growth. UMSL, which continues to be ranked in the Tier 1 research university category, received its highest-ever total score in the 17 measures used to inform the magazine’s 2021 rankings. UMSL climbed 14 spots to rank No. 126 nationally among public universities.

“We strive to provide a high quality and affordable education to all of our students, regardless of their backgrounds, and we’re glad to see that recognized in this latest ranking,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said. “Our student outcomes remain the best measure of how well we’re performing as an institution, and our faculty and staff are to be commended for their work teaching, supporting and ensuring student success.”

U.S. News made several changes to its methodology in compiling its 2021 rankings, including the introduction of two outcome measures that pertain to the indebtedness of each school’s graduates.

To make room for those measures, the magazine decreased the weight placed on factors such as SAT/ACT scores, high school class standing and rates of alumni giving.

“The increased focus on outcome measures rather than input measures and financial resources benefits institutions such as UMSL, which despite limited resources, provide high-quality programs to diverse students with great effect,” Sobolik said. “They are finally being rewarded for being what they are – over-achievers.”

U.S. News again recognized UMSL on its list of A+ Schools for B Students. The list features institutions that show desirable outcomes for students entering with average test scores and high school class rankings. To be eligible, a university had to rank among the top three-quarters of its peer groups in the 2021 Best Colleges list and admit a meaningful proportion of non-A students. No more than 50 percent of students could be ranked among the top 10 percent of their high school class. U.S. News also required freshman retention rates of 75 percent or higher, indicating satisfaction of first-year students.

With the highest ranking of any university in the St. Louis region, UMSL remained one of the “Top Performers on Social Mobility,” which highlights how well universities have graduated students who receive federal Pell Grants. The success of Pell recipients aligns with UMSL’s core values – particularly access, inclusion and success.

More than 45 percent of UMSL students were Pell Grant-eligible in the 2019 academic year. Pell Grant recipients come from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000.

Among individual programs, the UMSL’s undergraduate international business program was ranked No. 25 nationally, marking 18 consecutive years the program has been ranked in the top 25.

The College of Business Administration has made international business a focus since launching an undergraduate international business program in 1999, awarding more than 1,000 international business degrees and sponsoring more than 500 study abroad trips in that time. UMSL also created the International Business Institute in 2000. Gerald Gao is in his second year as the institute’s director.

The UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program ranked No. 91 among schools with no doctoral program.


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