CONWAY — U.S. News and World Report said Thursday that Coastal Carolina University’s three-place drop in one category of its annual rankings is no big deal.
“That one year (of rankings) is very small,” Robert J. Morse, the magazine’s director of data research, said in an email, “and it’s not a meaningful one-year difference.”
The university slipped from 26th to 29th in the Top Public Schools - Regional Universities (South) category and 63rd in the category of Best Regional Universities (South).
“We are pleased that Coastal Carolina University ranks in the top tier in the Regional Universities (South) category for the second consecutive year,” the university said in an emailed statement. “... The drop in our rankings this year is slight and statistically insignificant. These numbers typically shift a few points one way or another from year to year.”
Elsewhere among state colleges and universities, The Citadel was ranked at the top of the Southern regional public universities and USC-Aiken was rated the best public regional college in the South. Clemson ranked 25th and USC 55th among the nation’s public universities.
U.S. News’ rankings are dismissed by some academics as arbitrary, according to a story from The State in Columbia. But some students and parents use the rankings as a guide in evaluating schools.
Indeed, Morse said much the same thing in a piece explaining on the magazine’s website how the rankings are computed.
“The rankings allow you to compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention, graduation rates, and the strength of the faculty,” he wrote in the piece co-authored with Sam Flanigan.
In making the rankings, the magazine gathers data from each college or university on up to 16 indicators of academic excellence.
There are a number of different categories of schools.
Morse and Flanigan defined regional universities such as CCU as those that have a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master’s degree programs, but few, if any, doctoral programs.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.