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MIT sixth in rankings

By Joanna Stone

The good news is that MIT was ranked second in the nation for academic reputation -- ahead of that other university in Cambridge.

However, the Institute was ranked sixth overall this year among "national universities" in US News & World Report magazine's annual "America's Best Colleges" survey, up from seventh in last year's survey.

The universities which received higher overall ratings than MIT were, in order from first to fifth, Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Princeton University, and the California Institute of Technology.

The criteria behind the ranking included student selectivity, which was based on applicant rejection rates, standardized test scores and high-school class standings; faculty resources, based on student/faculty ratios; percentage of faculty with doctorates and per-student instructional budgets; financial resources, based on per-student endowment income; per-student library budget; and student satisfaction, based on average percentage of freshmen who became sophomores and average number of freshmen who graduate with a bachelor's degree within five years.

In addition, the magazine polled college presidents, academic deans, and admissions officers in order to rank schools' academic reputations.

MIT was ranked third -- ahead of Harvard, but behind Stanford and CalTech -- for financial resources, and fifth in student selectivity. These rankings, however, were not high enough to compensate for the low rankings in faculty resources and student satisfaction. MIT ranked 15th for both.

Overall ranking was determined by giving reputation, faculty resources and student selectivity weights of 25 percent each. Financial resources counted for 20 percent and student satisfaction for five percent.

This represents a change from last year's weighting process. According to the magazine, "The methodology continues to evolve and, therefore, the 1991 rankings are not directly comparable to those published in previous years."

MIT was one of 204 schools categorized by US News as national universities. According to the magazine, they were grouped together because "they offer a full range of baccalaureate programs, give a high priority to research and award the most PhD's each year."

The other universities and colleges in the survey were classified as national liberal-arts colleges, regional colleges and universities, regional liberal-arts colleges or specialized institutions. Comparisons were made only within categories.