SBU leads latest college ranking

Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley: Gratifying external validation for staff, faculty and students.

Long Island certainly didn’t flunk out of U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings, though collectively, you’d have to give the Island a B grade at best.

Those more intimately familiar with the world-class science, impressive graduation rates and regional economic benefits of the Island’s college and university system might question a database in which Long Island’s most notable achievement was Stony Brook University’s ranking as the nation’s 37th best public university.

But U.S. News & World Report, which has published its Best Colleges rankings for 30 years, cites a scientific methodology factoring “16 measures of academic excellence,” based largely on 2010 classifications by of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Carnegie system – used by U.S. News & World Report since it started ranking colleges in 1983 – is a common yardstick for higher-education researchers.

U.S. News & World Report has also created a Best Value Schools category that weighs both academic excellence and affordability. No Long Island school cracked any of the value category’s national or regional lists.

But the Island did make some grades. In addition to tying for the country’s 37th best public university – an honor shared with SUNY Binghamton, N.C. State (Raleigh), the University of Vermont (Burlington), the University of Colorado (Boulder) and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse) – SBU was ranked the 89th best national university.

Wherever his school was ranked, simply being mentioned among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges is “a gratifying external validation for the university, faculty, staff and students,” according to SBU President Samuel Stanley Jr.

“Access to excellence is at the core of Stony Brook University’s mission,” Stanley said in a statement. “This distinction further highlights the work of our award-winning faculty, accomplished students (and) rigorous and innovative academic programs.”

No other Long Island college or university cracked the top 100 on the national universities or public universities lists. U.S. News & World Report ranked Hofstra University the 135th best national university on a list topped by Princeton and Harvard. The public university list was dominated by the University of California: UC-Berkley and UC-Los Angeles finished 1-2.

Although Long Island was shut out of most national lists, it was represented on some of the regional lists. Farmingdale State College was ranked the North Region’s 32nd best college – the No. 11 public college, the school notes in a release – and leaves students with the third-lowest debt load among all North Region colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Farmingdale President Hubert Keen said the recognition “confirms the good judgment” of students who choose to attend his school.

“Farmingdale State College’s enrollment continues to grow due to the excellence of our faculty and the relevancy of our degrees,” Keen said in a statement.

No other Long Island college made the North Region’s best college list, which was topped by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, and NYC’s Cooper Union. Other schools cracking the regional college ranks included the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point (No. 3), the SUNY Maritime Academy in Throggs Neck (No. 17) and the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Flushing (No. 26).

Two Long Island schools did make the North Region’s best universities list: Rockville Centre’s Molloy College (No. 36) and the Old Westbury campus of the New York Institute of Technology (No. 41). The regional universities list was led by Pennsylvania’s Villanova University and Rhode Island’s Providence College.

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