UC Berkeley ranked as 2nd-best public university in US, behind UCLA

Ireland Wagner/Staff

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The U.S. News & World Report released its 2020 rankings, listing UC Berkeley as the second-best public university in the nation behind UCLA.  

U.S. News ranks colleges from a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the optimal score. Multiple factors are considered when determining a college’s ranking, including “academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, financial resources, social mobility indicators, class sizes, student-faculty ratios and alumni giving, among other measures of academic quality,” according to Berkeley News’ website.

UCLA — newly ranked as the best public university in the nation — received a score of 80. Meanwhile, UC Berkeley scored a 78. 

“We know that rankings methodologies can change from year to year and create changes in ranking positions,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email. “However, UC Berkeley continues to remain among the top ranks of universities, public or private, national or global, in rankings conducted by numerous publications and institutions.”

This year marks the 35th edition of the U.S. News’ Best College Rankings. Its 2020 report ranked nearly 1,400 colleges and universities. Outcome measures such as graduation and retention rates, as well as social mobility, are the most highly weighted ranking factors, comprising 35 percent of each school’s overall score.

Gilmore added that UC Berkeley’s ranking is “a reflection of our outstanding faculty, students and staff, and our strong public service mission.”

In 2019, UC Berkeley was unranked from U.S. News’ list after years of misreporting data on alumni donations. 

Campus spokesperson Michael Dirda previously told The Daily Californian that the mishap occurred after U.S. News changed its methodology for measuring alumni donations in 2014. In a statement, Chancellor Carol Christ added that once UC Berkeley noticed its mistake, they reported it to U.S. News. 

“Though part of the rankings methodology, the incorrectly reported alumni giving data is most certainly not a measure of the academic quality at UC Berkeley,” Christ said in her statement. 

UC Berkeley had been ranked as the best public university by U.S. News for 19 years before 2018, when it tied with UCLA. In 2019, UCLA was ranked as the sole top public university for the first time.      

Overall, the ten UC campuses make up a large part of the U.S. News’ university rankings. This year, UC Santa Barbara was ranked seventh, along with the University of Florida. UC Irvine followed in ninth, with UC San Diego and UC Davis trailing in 10th and 11th, respectively. 

“We were pleased to see that University of California campuses once again topped U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of national public universities,” Gilmore said in the email. 

Marlena Tavernier-Fine is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MarlenaTF_DC.