U.S. News & World Report for the first time ranked Towson University among top national schools this year. Previously, it had been ranked as a top regional, but not national, school.
Towson University ranked as the 98th-best public school and 197th-best overall school nationally for 2020. The rankings were released Monday. Towson University tied with Illinois State University in both rankings.
“This recognition reflects the excellence of our world-class faculty, coupled with the relevance and rigor of our degree programs," University President Kim Schatzel said in a statement.
For the last three years, Towson University has ranked in the top 15 public schools in the northern region. Towson was “thrust” into the national category because of a change in its Carnegie Classification, officials said in a release. The Carnegie Classification is a framework system that has been in place since the 1970s to classify institutions in roughly similar groupings. The classifications are often used in research studies that compare similar institutions.
Towson University is not the only school to reach national rankings in the state. The University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, were ranked as the 24th and 79 top public schools, respectively — and 64th and 166th overall.
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Johns Hopkins University, a private institution, was ranked as the 10th school overall in the nation. It is tied with Duke University, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Towson University touted its performance in social mobility, where it ranked 186, tying with Harvard University. The school also ranked 104th among campus ethnic diversity among national schools.
U.S. News & World Report said the social mobility index rates those that enroll and graduate “large proportions of students awarded with Pell Grants," as students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to graduate college than other students.
The U.S. News & World Report college rankings have existed for 35 years, and the organization refines how it ranks schools annually. This year several measures including student outcomes, alumni giving, faculty resources, social mobility and expert opinion were considered in the rankings.
Towson University recently welcomed its largest and most-diverse undergraduate class in the school’s history. This year’s freshman class is 48% minority, with 25% identifying as African-American, the largest population ever for both categories, university spokesman Matt Palmer said in August. Additionally, about 22% of the incoming class are first-generation college students.