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UConn again top public university in New England (Released: 8/31/00)

By Karen Grava, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut is again the top-ranked New England public university, according to the latest listings of the nation's best colleges released Friday by U.S. News & World Report.

"We are pleased to again be the best public university in New England. The ranking is one indication of how well the University is doing. However, we continue to recognize that the more accurate measures of success are the marketplace - demand for UConn has grown tremendously in the last five years -- and a host of other indicators," says Dolan Evanovich, associate provost for enrollment management.

"We rank among the best universities in the country. Yet, these rankings are only a surrogate of the real indicators of success. UConn has had a tremendous transformation in the last few years and those changes have made us extremely attractive to undergraduates, "he says.

Since 1997,

  • freshman enrollment has grown 34.5 percent;
  • minority enrollment has grown 58 percent; and
  • SAT scores are up 28 points.

In addition, the number of valedictorians jumped from 13 four years ago to 34 valedictorians this fall, he says.

U.S. News & World Report rated UConn in a four-way tie at 38th nationally this year, a change of one position from last year's six-way tie at number 31. The University is one of only a handful of institutions in the northeast to make the U.S. News ranking of the top national public universities. The National Science Foundation estimates that there are 292 public universities in the nation.

The ranking makes UConn the top-rated public university in New England, ahead of the Universities of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, all ranked 47th.

Each year, U.S. News rates about 1,400 accredited four-year colleges, based on data including retention and graduation rates, quality of students, and alumni giving and on a survey of the school's reputation among high-ranking officials of other colleges.

Although there is skepticism about the value of college rankings, Evanovich said the rankings do influence students and their families in choosing a college. "Because students and parents consider the rankings, we are pleased to be ranked first among New England publics," Evanovich says.

Other indicators of UConn's success include:

  • Renewed emphasis on undergraduate education and new programs that invigorate campus life.
  • Recruitment of an impressive class of new faculty. In addition, 20 percent of the hires in the last five years have been minorities.
  • Private annual gifts to the University have grown from $8 million to $37 million a year in just five years. In addition, total assets of the UConn Foundation have grown from $50 million to more than $260 million during the last five years.
  • A 30 percent increase in research funding in the last four years.
  • Athletic success includes national championship men's and women's basketball teams, and outstanding teams in men's and women's soccer, field hockey, and track, among others. In a study reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UConn was one of 36 universities in the U.S. considered to be in compliance with the requirements of Title IX.
  • The University is mid-way through the $1 billion, 10-year UCONN 2000 program to renew, enhance, and rebuild the campuses. The program is responsible for completion of 18 new buildings, 16 renovated buildings, and more than 70 classroom refurbishments. In addition, a university hotel, four academic buildings, 13 residence halls and a community center and a are all within a year of completion. In addition, the Waterbury campus will be relocated downtown, and a football stadium is to be built in East Hartford.

August 2000 Releases
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