“Fordham shares the disappointment of our students, faculty, alumni and staff with the U.S. News & World Report undergraduate rankings, in which Fordham declined this year from 58 to 66,” said Bob Howe, spokesman for the university, in a statement.
Despite their disappointment, the drop in rankings did not come as a surprise to administration. “The University anticipated a decline, since in several categories we knew our numbers were not as strong in 2014 as they had been in 2013.” He noted factors such as alumni giving, class size, and SAT scores.
According to Howe, Fordham has already begun to outline and put into place “corrective action in the areas which most effect the learning experience, over which Fordham has the most control and which are the most heavily weighted.” Such areas include as alumni participation, class size and graduation rates.
Howe cited lower endowment numbers as reasons for the university’s decline. “It takes sizeable investments to effect small changes in rankings, and positive results are not necessarily a given,” he said. “Endowment, it turns out, matters, and matters greatly. If one were to rank national universities by the size of their endowments, the list would look very much like the U.S. News rankings—which is why one sees most of the changes from year to year in the middle of the pack.”
Princeton University once again took the top ranking, followed by Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago.
The statistics state that Fordham’s tuition is $45,623, total enrollment is 15,231, the 2014 fall acceptance rate as 48.1 percent, a freshmen retention rate of 89 percent, and six year graduation rate at 80 percent. Fordham faces a lower ranking than its Catholic rivals: Notre Dame is ranked 18, Georgetown University ranked 21 and Boston College ranked 30.
The university has had a sporadic ride through the rankings in recent years. Fordham jumped 31 places from a ranking of 84 in 2002 to 53 in 2011, when it was tied with Boston University. Since then, the ranking has stagnated and then entered into a decline. This year, Boston University has risen to 41, while Fordham has fallen to 66.
The U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” list is arguably the most referenced and popular of all college rankings. According to its website, “77.5 percent of a school’s ranking in the National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges categories is based on a formula that uses objective measures of academic quality, such as graduation rates, faculty information and admissions data. The remaining 22.5 percent is based on academic reputation, determined by a peer assessment from top academics at colleges; in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges categories.”