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Howard Jumps Up On U.S. News and World Report’s Annual Best College Rankings

By Jacinth Jones, Campus Staff Writer
Posted 11:00 PM EST, Mon., Sept. 26, 2016

The U.S. News and World Report released its new 2016-2017 college rankings and Howard University was placed in the 124th spot. Its standing presents an 11-position improvement from last year and 21-position jump over the past two years.

“We are very pleased to see progress in the improvement of our ranking status,” said Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick. “However, we realize that Howard University is often faced with specific challenges because of our mission.”

The methodology behind national universities’ rankings are based upon an annual U.S. News statistical survey and the Common Data Set (CDS). According to the U.S. News & World Report, “The CDS is a set of standards and definitions for higher education data that are collected by publishers and used in higher education research. It has been a collaborative effort between publishers and higher education officials that has improved the quality and accuracy of information that colleges provide and that is made available to consumers.”

Retention and graduation rates, demographics, freshmen admission, admission requirements, transfer credit policies, campus life, annual expenses, financial aid, instructional faculty, student to faculty ratio and degrees conferred are all used as benchmarks.

Although the U.S. News & World Report displays Howard’s 21-point progression over the last three years, the university still faces its fair share of obstacles.

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Just last year, Howard overextended itself by admitting one of the largest freshmen class it had seen in years. President Frederick admits to this by stating, “In the fall of 2016, Howard admitted a smaller class despite the fact that the university had a 21 percent increase in applications. This decision was made so that we could increase aid to our neediest students.”

According to President Frederick, however, the ranking remains a good sign.

“Howard remains committed to academic rigor and providing an enhanced academic environment,” he said.

The improvement in rankings signifies the hard work done by faculty, staff and students over the past two years, yet Howard’s score indicates there may be still standards that need to be improved upon in order to find a path to a financial turnaround.

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