UConn Soars in Wall Street Journal National College Rankings

Graduation rate, value added to graduates' pay among factors that place UConn at 46 among all American universities

Students walk along Fairfield Way before 9 a.m. classes.

Students walk along Fairfield Way before 9 a.m. classes. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The University of Connecticut is one of the 50 best universities in America, public or private, according to rankings released this week by The Wall Street Journal.

Ranking highly in affordability, the average time it takes students to earn degrees, and the value a degree adds to graduates’ salaries, UConn was ranked 46th overall by the Journal, the second highest ranking of any Connecticut school and higher than many peer institutions across the U.S. That ranking puts UConn at #9 overall among all public universities in the country.

Although the Journal has been scoring American universities since 2016, this set of rankings is the first under a new methodology adopted by the newspaper and its data-gathering partners, which aims to evaluate universities by their effect on students’ lives rather than more esoteric metrics.

“We no longer reward colleges’ wealth or reputation in and of themselves. Gone is the survey of academics on schools’ reputations,” wrote Harry Carr, rankings editor for the Journal. “Gone are the rewards for instructional spending and the assumption that the quality of education is largely dictated by how expensive it is to produce.

“In their place we’ve expanded the importance of student outcomes: graduation rates and graduate salaries. Critically, we now put greater emphasis on measuring the value added by colleges—not simply measuring their students’ success, but focusing on the contribution the college makes to that success.”

Under the revised criteria, student outcomes account for 70% of universities’ scores, followed by the learning environment at 20% and diversity at 10%.

For its graduation rate, the Journal gave UConn a score of 90 out of 100; according to University research, the average time it takes for UConn undergraduates to earn their degrees is 4.1 years, placing UConn at #1 among public universities.

The Journal also found the value UConn adds to graduates’ salaries to be impressive, scoring the University 82 out of 100 and calculating that a UConn degree on average boosts graduates’ pay by more than $47,000.

That echoes a recent finding by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which calculated that a UConn degree provides a return on investment of roughly $1.2 million over a 40-year working career.

“In effect, colleges aren’t just rewarded for their raw performance in traditional metrics; rather, they’re also evaluated against a benchmark that shows how the schools improve the trajectories of their students’ careers,” wrote Kevin McAllister and Tom Corrigan in the Journal.