EL PASO, Texas - Washington Monthly has ranked the University of Texas at El Paso No. 7 in a national ranking focused on "true public interest" and based on social mobility, research and community service.
The announcement was made Monday morning as part of the publication's 2013 College Rankings to be published Sept. 4. UTEP is ranked between No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 Harvard.
UTEP moved up five slots from the previous year and earned the top spot in the social mobility category for the second year in a row. Social mobility is described as recruiting and graduating students of modest means, and is a measure of how well "the school performs as an engine of social mobility." The research component includes annual expenditures (in excess of $76 million) and the number of undergraduates who continue to earn doctoral degrees. The service rating is based on how students are taught to give back to the community whether through volunteer hours or participation in community service organizations, including ROTC.
"We are extremely pleased with the latest Washington Monthly rankings because they reflect the growing national validation of the important work that has been under way at UTEP," President Diana Natalicio said in a statement. "This ranking recognizes UTEP's success in fulfilling our public research university mission by successfully offering both access and excellence to the highly talented and mostly first-generation Hispanic students we serve.
"Achieving both affordability and high quality in a low-resource setting such as the U.S.-Mexico border region requires a deep commitment by all faculty and staff to ensure that students who entrust us with their aspirations are given every opportunity not only to pursue them, but to participate in enriched educational experiences on our campus that will prepare them to compete successfully with their peers from across the globe," President Natalicio added. "As we celebrate UTEP's Centennial next year, we're looking forward to continuing to serve as a model and catalyst for change in public higher education in the 21st century."
President Natalicio will participate in a Sept. 4 panel discussion organized by Washington Monthly to discuss higher education issues reflected in the rankings.
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In its introduction to the rankings, the magazine's editors praised UTEP for enrolling – and graduating – a large number of low-income students. More than half of UTEP's almost 23,000 students – 12,116 – received a Pell Grant during the 2012-13 academic year, and 75 percent received some form of financial aid.
"Our rankings aim to identify institutions that are acting on behalf of the true public interest," the editors wrote. They later added that UTEP enrolls "large numbers of low-income students and graduates more of them than the economic and academic profiles of their students would predict, while charging the kind of affordable tuition that is increasingly rare."
This is the eighth year that the publication, an investigative, system-analysis periodical based in Washington, D.C., has produced college rankings. The magazine says the rankings reward schools for, "among other things, recruiting and graduating students of modest means – in conscious contrast to the U.S. News & World Report."
To view the complete listings, visit the magazine's "2013 College Rankings."