For the sixth year in a row, the University of Georgia has earned a top 20 spot in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of America’s best public universities.
The 2022 ranking puts UGA in the No. 16 spot, just behind the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. UGA is ahead of Ohio State University and Purdue University, which are tied at No. 17.
The university’s No. 16 ranking comes at a time when measures of student success and demand for a UGA education are at record levels.
“I am delighted that UGA is once again ranked among America’s leading public institutions of higher learning,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Our consistent position among the top 20 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings reflects a dedication to the highest levels of academic excellence by our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. I could not be prouder of our community for this well-deserved recognition of the university’s achievements.”
The University of Georgia is once again one of only two Georgia institutions—along with the Georgia Institute of Technology—to make the top 20. UGA and the University of Florida remain the only two public institutions from the Southeastern Conference in the top 20.
The university also earned high marks in several individual categories. The Terry College of Business ranked among the nation’s top 25 undergraduate business programs, and its insurance/risk management program once again secured the top spot in the country. UGA is also ranked as one of the top 25 best colleges for veterans.
Committed to success
Several factors contribute to UGA’s consistently high rankings, including the institution’s commitment to providing students hands-on learning experiences that foster engagement and success. UGA is one of the nation’s largest public universities to require that all undergraduate students engage in experiential learning—such as internships, research, study abroad, or service learning. In addition, a new initiative will soon promote active learning approaches to further enhance classroom instruction.
Several programs are also in place to provide tailored student support, including the ALL Georgia Program for students from rural parts of the state and Dawg Camp, an extended orientation program designed to assist students with their transition into the UGA community.
“The University of Georgia’s investments in faculty and student success initiatives have helped make our institution a national leader in public higher education,”’ said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Our 2025 Strategic Plan builds on this strong foundation to further enhance our teaching and learning environment.”
A record 87% of UGA students complete their degrees in six years, exceeding the average six-year completion rate of peer institutions in the SEC and nationally. UGA’s first-year retention rate, another key measure of student success, is 94%.
Graduation and retention rates comprise the largest percentage of the U.S. News & World Report ranking criteria, accounting for 30% of an institution’s total score. The academic credentials of the student body are also a major factor. The class of 2024, upon which this year’s ranking is based, entered UGA last fall with an average high school GPA of above 4.0. The students boasted an average SAT score of 1351 and an average ACT score of 31, and 14% of them graduated either first or second in their class.
Another 20% of the score is determined by faculty resources, such as class size and the student-to-faculty ratio. Almost half of all classes at UGA consist of fewer than 20 students, and the ratio of students to faculty members has remained constant at 17 to 1. Alumni support is also crucial to UGA’s U.S. News ranking. A record 15% of alumni—up from 13% in the previous year—made gifts in support of UGA in fiscal year 2021.
Individual rankings can fluctuate from year to year, but the university’s academic excellence can also be measured by other factors. The most recent data from UGA’s Career Outcomes Survey shows that 91% of UGA students are employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. In addition, the newly renamed Jere W. Morehead Honors College continues to produce a record number of academic scholars including Rhodes, Fulbright and Goldwater award winners.