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A coveted list of “best” 100 national colleges and universities that includes only one historically Black institution was released on the same day a new report called its methodology into question.

The annual “Best National University Rankings” as selected by U.S. News & World Report was released Monday and ranked Howard University at 89th for the 2022-23 academic year. The next closest HBCU on the list was Florida A&M University, which is ranked 202nd. The largest HBCU in the nation, North Carolina A&T State University, came in at 299th in these rankings.

The “Best National University Rankings” list comes at a time when HBCUs have raised their profiles significantly while simultaneously seeing an increase in both national exposure and enrollment numbers, making it a surprise more Black colleges and universities were not ranked higher.

Many HBCUs are listed higher in other national categories ranked by US News and World Reports’ data. Spelman College, for instance, is ranked 51st among national liberal arts colleges and 19th in best undergraduate teaching. Tuskegee University is ranked first in Social Mobility and was ranked sixth among regional universities in the South. Florida A&M earned the highest ranking of any public HBCU and was ranked 103rd among national public universities.

Howard was ranked 30th in the most innovative schools category.

Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick said he was “proud” to be included on the list.

“Howard University embodies excellence in academics, research, and service. Our faculty, staff, and students are tasked with finding innovative solutions to today’s most pressing issues as they continue to impact their fields,” Frederick said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “Our campus community deserves to fulfill its mission in a setting that provides the best support and that includes having access to robust operations and administrative processes and superior facilities that provide a strong foundation for the critical work they do. We are proud to be acknowledged by U.S. News and World Report for these efforts.”

The U.S. News & World Report list came out on the same day the Washington Post drew attention to increased scrutiny of the rankings. Particularly, the Post noted how Columbia University, an Ivy League school that is consistently among the top five in the U.S. suddenly fell to 18th place.

It’s to the point where Education Secretary Miguel Cardona specifically called the U.S. News & World Report a “joke” that places an emphasis on “prestige and exclusivity.”

Could that be why just one HBCU made the top 100 list for the current academic year?

Even though there are 101 HBCUs in the country, U.S. News & World Report said in describing its methodology that just 77 met its eligibility requirements.

HBCUs are in an interesting position because of their unique historical circumstances. It’s hard to compare HBCUs to PWIs who haven’t endured the same challenges as these institutions and oftentimes cater to an entirely different group of students.

The top 10 HBCUs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report follow below:

1: Spelman College

2: Howard University

3: Tuskegee University

4: Morehouse College

5: Xavier University of Louisiana

6: Hampton University

7: Florida A&M University

8: Delaware State University

T9: Claflin University

T9: North Carolina A&T State University


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