It's not breaking news, but it's always fun to hear: Southern Methodist University isn't just one of the best colleges in Texas, it stands above most in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's latest ranking.
On September 9, the venerated publication released its annual 2020 Best Colleges report, comparing nearly 1,400 schools around the country.
SMU ranks No. 3 in Texas and No. 64 in the nation, tying with Loyola Marymount University; University of Connecticut; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and slipping from No. 59 in the previous national ranking. Rice University in Houston ranks No. 1 in the state and No. 17 in the nation; the University of Texas at Austin ranks No. 2 and No. 48 in the nation.
U.S. News broke down ranking metrics like a classic syllabus. Each school was graded across six categories, weighing outcomes (graduation and retention rates, social mobility, etc.) the heaviest at 35 percent. Faculty resources and expert opinion of schools each accounted for 20 percent of scores, followed by financial resources and student excellence at 10 percent each, and alumni giving at 5 percent.
The publication also brought some new rankings to the table this year, including Top Performers on Social Mobility, which analyzes schools by which best serve underrepresented students, looking at Pell Grants and enrollment and graduation rates of students from low-income backgrounds. SMU ranks near the bottom of that list at No. 360 out of 381 schools.
Nationwide, the Ivies continue their dominance atop the list. Princeton University is the best university in America, followed by Harvard University (No. 2) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, which tied for third.
College Station's Texas A&M University (No. 70) and Waco's Baylor University (No. 79) round out the top five schools in Texas on the national list.
Locally, the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson and Dallas Baptist University rank 147th and 281st, respectively.
Also in the area, Texas Christian University ranks No. 97, and the University of North Texas also ranks 281st. The University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Wesleyan University, and Texas Woman's University all rank in the No. 293-381 range.