All but one public university in Kentucky fell in the 2017 rankings of colleges released by U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday, with the University of Louisville’s ranking decreasing for the third consecutive year.
The magazine’s influential rankings are based on 16 measures of academic quality, with its methodology placing the most weight on graduation and retention rates.
UofL fell three spots to No. 171 in the newest rankings of national universities, tied with the University of Idaho, University of Wyoming, Florida Institute of Technology and Edgewood College in Wisconsin. The University of Kentucky’s ranking was unchanged last year, but fell four spots to No. 133 this year, tied with Hofstra.
Western Kentucky University was the only public university in the state whose ranking did not decrease this year, remaining at No. 31 among the 105 regional universities of the South. In those same regional rankings, Murray State University, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Northern Kentucky University fell for the second consecutive year. Murray State dropped seven spots to No. 35, Morehead dropped 11 spots to No. 72, and EKU and NKU both decreased slightly to No. 79 and No. 82, respectively. Over the last two years, Morehead’s ranking has fallen by 19 and EKU’s by 17.
Kentucky’s public universities have witnessed one of the largest cuts in per-student higher education spending in the country since the Great Recession, along with steep increases in student tuition.
However, two of Kentucky’s best private colleges saw their rankings improve in this year’s list, including Bellarmine University in Louisville. Bellarmine moved up one spot to No. 12 among regional universities of the South, while Centre College in Danville also moved up on spot to No. 44 among national liberal arts colleges.
In the ranking of best colleges for veterans in the Southern region, Bellarmine was No. 8, WKU was No. 23 and Murray St. was No. 25.