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UT, BGSU fall in U.S. News & World Report rankings

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    University Hall at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green.

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The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University both slipped in U.S. News & World Report’s popular college rankings, though each of the public institutions was able to increase its composite score in the annual publication.

UT again failed to crack the top tier of national universities, which includes 311 public and private schools that offer a mix of undergraduate and graduate programs. U.S. News & World Report doesn’t publish the numerical rank of second-tier schools — those in the bottom 25 percent of each category — but UT President Sharon Gaber said the university is ranked No. 246.

That’s one slot behind its No. 245 ranking the year before, though UT’s overall score grew from 20 to 22. One of Ms. Gaber’s goals since taking the helm in July, 2015 is to bolster the university’s reputation, and boosting UT’s ranking is key. The highest ranking in the magazine list UT has received in the last 15 years was in 2006, when it came in at No. 201.

Ms. Gaber attributed poor ranking to a low six-year graduation rate, which budged slightly from 42 percent last year to 43 percent this year. That means only 43 percent of students who enrolled at UT in 2010  made it to graduation within six years.

Student retention is a big push for Ms. Gaber’s administration, and she said she believes the six-year graduation rate will continue to improve as more retention programs are put into place.

“I can’t control after two years what happened six years ago,” Ms. Gaber said. “We’re pleased that we didn’t move backward.”

Ms. Gaber said she is encouraged by the magazine increasing its composite score for UT, and she is happy to see the alumni giving rate grow from 3 percent to 5 percent.

“Our score went up. That means a positive indicator that we’re going to be heading in the right direction,” Ms. Gaber said. “We all want the quick answer, but there’s not something that’s quick. A six-year graduation rate takes time to shift.”

BGSU’s ranking fell to a five-way tie at No. 202, while last year it was tied at No. 194.

Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president, said he is “a little disappointed” in the overall ranking, but he is pleased to see the school’s composite score rise from 29 to 30. 

“With the trends that we’re seeing, we’re pretty confident that we’re heading in the right direction. I think we’ll see some change in time,” he said. “It’s nice to continue to be a Tier 1, nationally recognized and ranked university.”

Mr. Rogers echoed Ms. Gaber’s sentiment about the six-year graduation rate hurting his institution’s overall rank. BGSU’s six-year graduation rate is 43 percent.

He called the measurement a “lagging indicator,” because improvements made in the last few years won’t improve a school’s U.S. News & World Report scores until years later, he said.

“We’ve changed some of our strategies here at Bowling Green, and our retention rates, because of some of those changes and new initiatives, we’ve seen an increase,” Mr. Rogers said.

Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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