UNCW Moves Up in U.S. News Rankings as Enrollment Nears 16,500

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The University of North Carolina Wilmington has been ranked #14 on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Regional Universities (South), up from #16 last year; ranked 6th among public universities; and for the first time has nearly 16,500 students enrolled (precisely 16,487), the university announced today. This is nearly 2,000 more students than were enrolled in fall of 2014.

The university also received other key recognitions in U.S. News’ “Best Colleges 2018” edition, including a #9 ranking on the list of Best Colleges for Veterans in Regional Universities (South), up from #11 last year.

“Since our institution’s founding in 1947, UNCW has placed a premium on the quality of our teaching, research and community engagement. We’re a student-centered campus that emphasizes applied learning and leadership experiences, and our success in preparing UNCW graduates to excel in a competitive, global economy is reflected in these rankings and our continued growth,” Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said.

UNCW was also named one of 25 southern regional “A+ Schools for B Students.” The Cameron School of Business, now home to over 2,000 undergraduate students, has again earned a place on the list of U.S. News’ Best Undergraduate Business Programs.  

The university’s online programs are gaining traction and recognition for quality and affordability, in alignment with a renewed commitment to growth in this area. The website Best Degree Programs ranked UNCW’s online R.N.-to-B.S.N. program #4 on their list of “Best Online B.S.N. Degrees,” while UNCW’s online Master of History program was ranked 1st nationally by the websites and GradSource, and #10 on a list compiled by the web-based College Affordability Guide.

UNCW continues to execute on goals set within the Strategic Plan introduced in 2015. Over the last year:

  • The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate has risen to 87%, the highest in university history
  • Annual giving has increased 14%
  • Grant awards are up 21%
  • Graduate school enrollment is up 9%

U.S. News considers a number of factors in putting together its well-known college rankings, including retention and graduation rates; assessment of excellence by administrators at peer institutions; selectivity; investment in faculty; financial resources; alumni giving; and programs that help students.

UNCW has consistently been recognized by many rankings organizations for academic quality and affordability. Earlier this summer, UNCW was named a Best Southeastern School on The Princeton Review’s list of "2018 Best Colleges: Region by Region." The university was also included in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, which highlights the nation’s “best and most interesting” colleges and universities - one of only 4 public institutions in North Carolina to be so recognized.

- Tricia Vance and Christina Schechtman