How does UTSA rank?

Based off a Forbes study, The University at San Antonio (UTSA) is ranked at 642—and 291 based off a Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). There are several online websites offering different rankings for universities nationwide. However, each study follows their own criteria when determining a universities rank.

Forbes bases its ranking on five criteria: student satisfaction (25%), post-graduate success (32.5%), student debt (25%), graduation rate (7.5%), and academic success (10%). UTSA scored low. But John Frederick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UTSA, believes the methodologies used to determine a university’s rank does not “provide a complete picture of a university’s value.” After all, “UTSA is deeply committed to providing excellence and a world-class education for its students. That’s far more important than any magazine ranking,” claims John Frederick.

According to senior marketing major Steven Arellano, he believes the categories Forbes uses to rank colleges aren’t fair. “I don’t think they’re very good categories to rank a school.” The criteria for academic success was one Steven didn’t particularly favor. “A par score doesn’t teach education. It has to go beyond that…[so] I don’t think it really matters.” Senior [] major Ruben Garcia disagrees. “Everyone thinks of college in different ways so I suppose ranking follows in suit.”

Unlike Forbes, the CWUR bases its ranking on eight criteria: quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications, influence, research citations, broad impact and patents. Compared to Forbes, their criteria are vastly different. Ruben Garcia, a computer science major at UTSA, exclaims “wow. Graduation rate and academic success are not represented enough.” Despite the juxtaposition, UTSA holds a world rank of 291 and a national rank of 112 based off their criteria.

Sam Gonzales, Vice President for Student Affairs, believes the difference between different college rankings could be an issue of false data. When creating their college rank, magazines commonly look at data posted by the institution. “There have been situations where the institutions report bad data so they can up their rankings. So this one [CWUR] is all on data that has to be reported to federal agencies,” remarks Gonzales.

291 is a high number, considering the rank is worldwide. But what about on a national level? “We’re ahead of practically every Big 12 school except UT Austin” remarks Gonzales. The Big-12 universities include Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, UT Austin, Baylor, West Virginia Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State. With a score of 112, UTSA beats several of the popular Big-12 schools.

That doesn’t exactly make Forbes college list inaccurate or wrong, it’s just different. “I don’t believe that all universities should be compared against each other. Each one has different factors that need to be considered” remarks Frederick.

It doesn’t stop there. In addition, UTSA has been featured as one of the schools under 50 years old by Times Higher Education. “From my perspective, we’re doing pretty good for a very young school. We’re probably one of the youngest schools ranked that high” Gonzales claims.

Frantically obsessing over a university’s rank isn’t the best idea. After all, “Rankings are tools. They shouldn’t be the only thing that a student considers when choosing a college or university” says Frederick.