Troy, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute once again ranks among the best universities in the United States, according to the annual list of college rankings released this week by U.S. News & World Report. The publication’s list ranks Rensselaer at 39th among national research universities, the highest rank for the Institute in the last 11 years.

Rising two spots from last year’s ranking at 41st, Rensselaer is tied at 39th with Northeastern University, Boston University, Tulane, and University of California-Irvine. Rensselaer has been ranked as one of the top 50 national universities by U.S. News for the past 17 years.

This year’s ranking reflects a number of significant improvements among the factors that are considered in compiling the rankings, including selectivity rank (35th), average freshman retention rate (94 percent), and number of freshmen in the top 10 percent of their high school class (72 percent). In each of these metrics, as well as percent of faculty who are full time (96 percent) and percent of classes under 20 (54 percent), Rensselaer ranked its highest in more than 10 years.

Rensselaer also made a significant jump in two additional categories identified by U.S. News: The Institute rose to 32nd from last year’s 38th in “Great School at a Great Price,” and jumped 10 places, from 38th to 28th, in “High School Counselor Rankings.”

“The good news in this ranking report is that even more students will discover the innovative educational programs, breakthrough research, and experiential initiatives at Rensselaer that have gained respect throughout the world,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “This builds on 200 years of Rensselaer research, teaching, and discovery that have improved lives on a global canvas and a grand scale.”

The news of Rensselaer’s transformative educational experience is spreading widely: This year more than 1,700 students—representing the largest incoming class in the Institute’s history—enrolled at Rensselaer. The first-year students hail from 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from countries all around the world. This year, 198 of the students are citizens of countries other than the United States.

Since joining Rensselaer in 1999, Jackson has led a transformation of the university’s pedagogical and research approach under the construct of The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The New Polytechnic emphasizes and supports collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and regions to address the great global challenges of our day, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer.

Jackson also introduced CLASS (Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students), a comprehensive approach to the student experience, comprising key aspects of a residential college model. Through ongoing support, guidance, and co-curricular activities, CLASS creates gateways to transformative experiences that will help students develop intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and global awareness.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science “to the common purposes of life.” For more information, please visit


Richie Hunter | Strategic Communications and External Relations | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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