By John Collins
LOWELL -- UMass Lowell is gradually rising through the ranks of the nation's top universities, according to a "best-of" list published recently by U.S. News & World Report.
The magazine's "Best Colleges 2013" edition ranks the university at No. 170, up seven places from last year on its "Best National Universities" list.
It was the third consecutive year UMass Lowell climbed in the rankings of national universities.
U.S. News & World Report also named UMass Lowell as a best bet for college-bound students who possess a strong work ethic, are engaged in their communities and who have maintained a solid B academic average in high school. This is the first year UMass Lowell also made U.S. News & World Report's "best-bet" list, the university noted.
"The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings affirm the university as both a competitive and inclusive environment that welcomes students of diverse experiences and backgrounds," said Chancellor Marty Meehan. "The depth and breadth of UMass Lowell's programs, the expertise and commitment of its faculty and staff, and vitality of the campus make it an ideal fit for students ready to challenge themselves and take their place in the greater community."
Meehan noted the higher national magazine ranking coincides with gains made in UMass Lowell's enrollment, academic performance and retention rate.
A paragraph accompanying UMass Lowell's No. 170 ranking in U.S. News & World Report reads: "University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public institution that was founded in 1894. The school has 56.8 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at University of Massachusetts Lowell is 14:1."
The magazine also reported that UMass Lowell's in-state tuition and fees for 2012-2013 are $11,852, and out-of-state tuition and fees, $18,965.
For fall 2012, UMass Lowell reported its enrollment climbed above 16,000 students for the first time in the university's history, up nearly 1,000 students from last year. It means the university's enrollment has increased by 46 percent in the last five years.
Joining the student body, which now represents 53 countries around the world, were approximately 1,500 first-year students and 1,145 transfers, according to statistics provided by the university. This year's UMass Lowell freshmen class, 83 percent of whom live on campus, had an average SAT score of 1127, an increase of 57 points over six years. Eighty percent of UMass Lowell freshmen continue on to their sophomore year, the university reported.
U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges 2013 report provides information on more than 1,800 of the country's colleges and universities. The survey looked at academic and faculty excellence, student selectivity, retention and graduation rates, financial resources per student, and alumni giving.
Topping the magazine's 2013 Best Colleges list, ranking numbers were: Harvard and Princeton tied for first, Yale third, Columbia and The University of Chicago tied for fourth, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford tied for sixth.
UMass Lowell offers its students bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences.