HOUSTON – Rice University is ranked No. 18 among the best national universities and the highest among universities in Texas in the 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” guidebook published on Wednesday.

U.S. News compared the quality of 280 national universities that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral degrees; some of these universities have an emphasis on research, including Rice.

Measures of quality included graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence by academic peers and high school guidance counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, percentage of alumni giving and graduation rate performance — the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates. U.S. News weighed these variables differently to calculate an overall score for each school.
Ranked No. 19 last year and tied for No. 18 with the University of Notre Dame this year, Rice University has remained in the top 20 since first appearing in the U.S. News rankings in 1988. Princeton University retained its No. 1 ranking from last year.

In addition to the overall best national universities, Rice appeared on a number of other lists in the new U.S. News guidebook:

* Rice and two other schools are tied for No. 10 on the list of national universities with an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. The rankings reflect schools cited most often by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans who were asked to identify up to 10 colleges and universities noted for a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.
* Rice is No. 14 among national universities ranked as best values. Criteria included academic quality and the 2014-15 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.
* Rice is also No. 14 – tied again with the University of Notre Dame – on the list of best national universities for veterans. Eligibility for this list requires a ranking among best national universities, certification for the GI Bill and participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans.
* Rice is in a five-way tie for No. 22 on the list of top national universities picked by public and private high school counselors, whose input is factored separately from the peer assessment ratings by college admissions deans, provosts and presidents.
* Rice is one of 25 national universities noted for ethnic diversity based on a formula that factors in the proportion of minority students – excluding international students – and the overall mix of ethnic groups in the student body. Rice’s diversity index is 0.69 on a scale of 0 to 1.0, where 1.0 reflects the highest likelihood for students to meet students from a different ethnic group.
* With 12 percent international students, Rice also appears on a list of 34 schools with the largest proportions of international undergrads.
* Rice is in a four-way tie for No. 8 on the list of national universities demonstrating economic diversity, based on the percentage of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants. Seventeen percent of students at Rice received Pell Grants, which are awarded to low-income students.
* Among undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a doctorate, Rice is in a three-way tie for the No. 4 best biomedical engineering specialty, and Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering is in a five-way tie for the No. 18 top engineering program.

For more on the U.S. News rankings, visit

(Photo credit: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)