UIC jumped 20 spots in the 2016 U.S. News and World Report “Best College” rankings from last year.
UIC was also ranked second for its online bachelor’s degree programs, 80th for its undergraduate business program and among the top 25 most ethnically diverse colleges in the nation.
In the national rankings, released Wednesday, UIC moved to No. 129 on the list, compared to No. 149 in 2015.
“I predict that in the next few years, we will be in the top 100,” said Emanuel Pollack, interim vice provost for undergraduate affairs. “We have a great opportunity to increase our standings over the next couple of years.”
The campus is tied with five other universities for the 129th spot: Arizona State University-Tempe, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, University at Albany-SUNY, University of Arkansas and the University of Kentucky.
One factor that helped boost UIC’s ranking is its improved graduation rate, Pollack said. UIC’s six-year graduation rate was 60 percent based on 2014 data, up from 57 percent in 2013 and double the graduation rate of the late 1980s.
“UIC has been on an upward trajectory with regard to student performance over the last several years,” he said. “It’s indicative that the students who are being admitted to UIC are better prepared for college work, which of course leads to better graduation rates.”
The rankings — which include data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities — are based Carnegie classification, as well as other factors such as class size, freshman retention and acceptance rate.
“The rankings are used for all different purposes — in recruiting and by students when they are looking at colleges to attend,” Pollack said.
UIC’s online bachelor’s degree programs were tied with two others, Western Kentucky University and Daytona State College, for second in the nation and first in student engagement. UIC offers two bachelor’s degree programs online — health information management and a nursing degree completion program.
“It’s quite clear that they are considered in very high regard,” Pollack said.
The undergraduate business program tied for 80th place with 12 other universities, including DePaul and Loyola.
UIC’s place among the top 25 most ethnically diverse colleges in the nation indicates the campus commitment to diversity, Pollack said. “UIC welcomes students of all backgrounds, and students of all ethnicities and races can feel comfortable here.”
UIC also received a 3.0 on a 5-point scale in peer assessment, based on surveys taken in spring 2014 and 2015. “We are at or above many of the institutions that are ranked even higher than us,” Pollack said, adding that UIC’s peer assessment reflects its high level of faculty quality.
For more information on the rankings, visit usnews.com/rankings