USC Aiken still ranks high among public universities
In the 2020 U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges Guide, USC Aiken ranks No. 2 out of over 500 public universities in the Regional College-South category.
Nicole Spensley, the director of institutional effectiveness, research and compliance at USCA, said that the university has been in the top three 22 separate times. It has also taken the top rank 14 times, including last year.
Though USC Upstate took the No. 1 spot this year, Spensley said that this is not a drastic decline.
“The way the rankings are calculated, we may have dropped a percentage point or two in one metric,” she explained, “and our peer may have increased only one or two percentage points in that same metric, which caused us to switch places in the rankings.”
The US News ranking system, which is just one of the higher education surveys that USCA submits to, is “very comprehensive,” according to Mary Driscoll, the vice chancellor for advancement and external affairs.
The system uses categories like enrollment, services and majors offered, financial aid and veterans affairs to rank each university by classification. Each classification uses the same criteria, but also looks at fields of study, geographic location, size of student body and the school’s Carnegie classification.
Driscoll said that though the university is proud to have this achievement it does not “chase after high rankings.” She noted that the goal is to support students by implementing policy and plans that will make the school better for them.
Leslie Hull-Ryde, director of news and information at USCA, mentioned that the university’s strategic planning committee has long-term plans for the school’s growth and development.
In an email announcement, Chancellor Sandra Jordan said, “I am extremely proud of our faculty and staff who work tirelessly to provide our students a quality education at affordable costs.”
“It is good to know our efforts are affirmed and recognized by the leading college-decision guide.”