Which local institutions of higher ed did well in latest ranking? It depends

By Mark Guydish [email protected]

			
				                                Stephanie Helsel hugs then-university president Thomas Botzman after recieving her philosophy degree at Misericordia University graduation on the Dallas campus in 2018. Misericordia University came in at 206 out of nearly 400 national universities in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges ranking of American colleges and universities. Read the story to see how other area institutions fared.
                                 Times Leader file photo

Stephanie Helsel hugs then-university president Thomas Botzman after recieving her philosophy degree at Misericordia University graduation on the Dallas campus in 2018. Misericordia University came in at 206 out of nearly 400 national universities in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges ranking of American colleges and universities. Read the story to see how other area institutions fared.

Times Leader file photo

U.S. News & World Report came out with its latest rankings of colleges and universities, giving bragging rights among local institutions, but who can brag about what depends on which ranking you look at.

In a world that has seen a glut of college and university rating systems over the past decade, U.S. News remains one of the most frequently cited. When the rankings came out, The University of Scranton was quick to issue a release noting it was sixth in “Regional Universities North.” That region includes every state from Maine south to Maryland, but goes no further west than Pennsylvania.

“U.S. News & World Report has ranked The University of Scranton among the top 10 ‘Best Regional Universities in the North’ for the 27th consecutive year,” The release from “The U” boasted.

It is the highest ranking in the regional list. By comparison, Marywood University was number 59 on that list, while King’s College was number 62.

But Misericordia and Wilkes Universities weren’t on the regional list; they were recently bumped into the “national universities” category, which in the latest rankings covers 389 schools.

Wilkes University sent out a release pointing out it “is once again ranked among top national universities in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges ranking of American colleges and universities. In the 2021 edition, Wilkes is ranked 217 among nearly 400 national universities.”

This is the 17th year in a row Wilkes was ranked, and the second in a row it was ranked as a national university. Being 217th nationally is probably worth crowing about, but Misericordia University actually did a little better, coming in at 206th.

The Wilkes release also noted the university “ranked as a top performer for social mobility,” a category introduced last year designed to measure how well schools educate students who receive federal Pell grants.

Wilkes ranked 174th in “top performers on social mobility.” But all the local schools did pretty well. Misericordia ranked 251st, The University of Scranton ranked 136th, King’s College ranked 132nd, and Marywood got local bragging rights for mobility by ranking 94th

Not all institutions get on all the different ratings lists. Misericordia, for example, is only ranked in national universities and social mobility. Wilkes was ranked in those two and came in at number 157 among “best undergraduate engineering programs” (at schools that do not offer a doctorate in engineering). Scranton came in at 141 on that list.

King’s and Marywood also landed on the “best colleges for veterans list, coming in at 33 and 31 respectively. And they were joined by the University of Scranton locally on the “best value schools list.” Scranton ranked 40th, King’s ranked 32nd, and Marywood ranked 20th.

You can see full ranking, including explanations of methodology and categories, at usnews.com.

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Mark Guydish
About Mark Guydish 304 Articles
Mark Guydish is the seventh of nine children born in West Hazleton. He earned his degree at Penn State, ran a bike shop, bicycled across the country, and worked as a paid EMT before joining the Times Leader in 1995 where he met and married feature writer Mary Therese Biebel. He has covered most beats, done editorial page work, columns, graphics and most recently "test kitchens" with MT. His main beat is education.