U.S. News and World Report, Wall Street Journal Rank UAlbany Among Top Public Institutions

New UAlbany graduates celebrate with purple and gold confetti at the 2022 undergraduate commencement ceremony.

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 19, 2023) — The University at Albany is rising among the top public colleges in the nation, according to new rankings published by U.S. News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. News and World Report 2024 “Best College Rankings,” published this week, lists UAlbany at No. 70 nationally among public institutions and No. 133 nationally overall, up 48 spots from last year. UAlbany was also again recognized by U.S. News as a top performer in social mobility, at No. 31 nationally, up seven spots from last year, and within the top 10 percent of all ranked institutions.   

UAlbany is listed at No. 40 among public institutions in the new Wall Street Journal 2024 “Best Colleges in the U.S.” rankings, the second highest among SUNY schools, and No. 114 nationally, among both public and private institutions. UAlbany ranked No. 21 nationally for social mobility, the highest among SUNY campuses and the second highest among all New York institutions, both public and private.

“The University at Albany is committed to offering life-changing opportunities and these new rankings are further proof that we are fulfilling that mission,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “We are proud to see our University continue to be recognized as a powerful engine of opportunity for all students, regardless of background or social status.”

Shift in Rankings Metrics

This year, the annual U.S. News “Best Colleges” rankings underwent significant methodological changes, leading to some notable year-over-year position increases for institutions, including UAlbany.

To place more emphasis on social mobility and outcomes, new factors were added to this year's rankings, including first-generation graduation rates, first-generation graduation rate performance and proportion of college graduates earning more income than a high school graduate. The definition of social mobility also changed this year to include first-generation graduation rates, in addition to Pell-recipient graduation rates.

UAlbany’s Class of 2027 is one of the most diverse in University history with about 54 percent of approximately 2,865 first-year students this fall coming from historically underrepresented groups.  Among the Class of 2023 undergraduates who received degrees in May, 30 percent were first-generation college students. 

As of Fall 2022, about 43 percent of UAlbany students were eligible for Pell grants — and nearly one-quarter of UAlbany students had no expected family contribution to the cost of their education.   

The Wall Street Journal rankings were compiled for the first time this year in partnership with College Pulse and Statista, an independent market research firm. The ranking aims to guide prospective students across the nation while recognizing the colleges doing an outstanding job in higher education.

According to the publication, the Wall Street Journal rankings are based on a “comprehensive evaluation of over 1,000 colleges and universities, taking into account a variety of factors that are deemed important for students and their future success. Unlike many other college rankings, which often focus solely on measures such as academic reputation or endowment size, the WSJ’s rankings take into account a wide range of factors, including the earning potential of graduates, the level of student debt, and the cost of attendance.”

A National Leader in Social and Economic Mobility

The new rankings add to UAlbany’s growing list of national accolades over the last several years, especially in social mobility and educational equity.  

Washington Monthly, a nonprofit magazine of U.S. politics and government that is based in Washington, D.C, has consistently ranked UAlbany in its top tier of national universities, which are classified based on their contribution to public good.

Last month, Washington Monthly ranked UAlbany within the top 15 percent (No. 61) of 442 public and private universities in its 2023 “College Guide and Rankings,” up one spot from last year and the highest among SUNY campuses.  UAlbany was also listed this year as a top university in the Northeast for delivering the “Best Bang for the Buck,” which ranks institutions according to how well they help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. 

UAlbany has also been lauded by the Education Trust as a leader in advancing racial equity among the nation’s 101 most selective public higher education institutions — and a national model for Latina/o and Black student success.