By Jordyn Fields, Howard University News Service
Washington, DC —Howard University has hit another milestone in its over 150 year history. Howard is now ranked number 80th in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best national universities.
The District of Colombia based institution has been steadily climbing the ranks over the last few years, but this is the first time it has ever entered the top 100 universities. Since 2014, the university has climbed 65 places from no.145.
“Excelling to No. 80 among national universities is an outstanding achievement for our faculty and staff who are fully committed to our students’ academic success in the classroom as well as their personal success in the workforce. We are especially thankful to our world-class faculty who prioritize the educational experience of our students on a daily basis,” said President Wayne Frederick.
Howard University has yet to regain its spot as the top-ranked HBCU. The no. 1 position has belonged to Atlanta’s all-women school, Spelman College for the last few years.
Covid-19 was not taken into account when these rankings were decided as the data was collected from Fall 2019 and prior. To account for the changes caused by the pandemic, U.S. News & World Report added test-blind school back into the rankings. They also decreased the importance of admissions data and alumni donations.
“It’s both good and bad. It’s great we’re getting recognition but there are a lot of issues. I think we need to get back to where we were years ago so that we’re not just living off of reputation but we are what we say we are,” said Howard student, Ciera Milton.
Over the last few years, Howard University has increased the four-year graduation rate to 52 percent and increased the first-year retention rate to 88 percent.
”It’s a great feat to see Howard University rise to the top of the ranks on the national scale before I graduate this spring. Being a student here at Howard, over the past four years, I’ve witnessed the hard work of many of the talented students to succeed—and boundless commitment from our faculty and students to emit nothing short of excellence. While Howard is No.1 to many students, it’s great to see the school’s commitment to excellence in truth and service acknowledged nationally,” said Kira Grant.
Howard University is in the midst of a redesign under its 2024 Howard Forward strategic plan. The University is focusing on increasing retention rates, graduation rates and making updates to the campus. These are all factors the university is already being recognized for making strides in.
“I’m really proud that we’re finally getting the recognition that we deserve,” said student Leah Scott. “Howard is a great institution that provides us with access to a plethora of rare opportunities and experiences that my friends and counterparts at institutions currently ranked higher than us envy. So honestly while I do feel that 80 is an amazing achievement, I expect the university to be ranked even higher in the coming years.”
Howard is also being recognized with high rankings in other categories as well. It is ranked number 31 in Undergraduate Teaching, number 50 in Best Colleges for Veterans, number 58 in Most Innovative Schools and number 11 in Social Mobility. Social mobility is the latest factor that U.S. News & World Report is taking into consideration. It accounts for the number of students that are being graduated that receive pell grants. These are usually students whose families make under $50,000.
“An individual’s socio-economic status should not preclude talented students from obtaining a higher education,” said Frederick. “Howard University has a high population of Pell Eligible students and we are committed to helping them succeed through a variety of focused tutoring programs and grant opportunities,” he continued.