UHD Ranked One of the Best Colleges in America AND the Most Diverse
In The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse
This news will not come as a surprise to UHD faculty, staff, students, and alumni: The home of the Gators is ranked one of the best colleges in the U.S. alongside being number one for diversity and number three for student experience. In fact, UHD was ranked no. 224 out of the top 400 Best Colleges in America in The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s recent announcement of 2024 college rankings. UHD also scored the highest (alongside Kentucky’s Berea College) in terms of diversity.
Only 23 Texas colleges and universities in total made the top 400 with the University of Houston at No. 208 and UHD at no. 224.
The Wall Street Journal improved the methodology behind the rankings, which it started publishing in 2016, by emphasizing how much a college improves its students’ chances of graduating on time and how much it boosts the salaries they earn after graduation. In other words, the rankings now measure student outcomes—exactly what UHD uses to measure student success, it’s number one priority!
Beyond the measurement of outputs, The Wall Street Journal “put students’ experiences at the heart of the 2024 college rankings, with one of the largest surveys of U.S. students ever conducted … the survey captured a range of perspectives on student life, including student’s perception of learning opportunities, career preparation, dining halls and sports facilities, and the students’ thoughts on diversity” (The Wall Street Journal). UHD was ranked third in the country based on an online survey of 60,953 students and alumni between January and May 2023.
“Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranking’s improved methodology measures exactly what we at UHD use as our barometer for student success,” said UHD President Loren J. Blanchard. “We focus on improving graduation rates so that our students enter the workforce with degrees of value sooner and improve their lives and those of their family through upward socioeconomic mobility.”
“I could not be more pleased that these rankings show what I already knew to be true, that UHD is solidly one of the best colleges in America with a diverse student body and faculty reflecting the communities of Houston,” added Blanchard. “UHD is truly an anchor institution for the region, creating leaders to find solutions for the challenges of the future.”
UHD was ranked number 106 in social mobility based on such factors as years to pay off net price, salary impact versus similar colleges, number of students who received Pell Grants, and graduation rates versus similar colleges. The WSJ/College Pulse Salary Impact ranking also lists schools in order of their impact on graduates’ salaries and how this relates to the cost of attending the college in terms of years to pay off net price. UHD was ranked number 136 in this category.
Data Behind the College Rankings
To generate the rankings, the Journal partnered with research groups College Pulse and Statista to analyze the data, measuring everything from expected student salaries and years needed to pay for attendance to the quality of learning of the school and more.
The Journal then generated both an overall score and a ranking for each school by comparing results on several key data points. “Salary impact relative to similar colleges,” or how much school attendance raised graduate salaries above the expected average for similar colleges, was the largest factor in determining the school’s ranking and overall score. The years required to pay off the net cost of school attendance and the graduation rate relative to similar colleges were also heavily weighted. Lower-level factors included students’ reported satisfaction with educational facilities and ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
Another 10% of the overall scores was determined by the diversity of the student body and the faculty at each institution. The University of Houston-Downtown and Kentucky’s Berea College scored the highest within this category, which combines metrics about the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds of students and faculty with the experiences of students on campus via the survey.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.