UPJ jumps to 12th on U.S. News and World Report list; St. Francis also scores high

Sep. 19—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown vaulted to 12th place in U.S. News and World Report's annual "Best Regional Colleges in the North" rankings — and fifth best for veterans for 2024.

The placement marks the third straight year Pitt- Johnstown climbed in the rankings, after placing 27th in 2023 — with this year's achievement slotting the school as the third- highest among all qualifying Pennsylvania schools.

"We are thrilled, but not surprised, that UPJ features prominently among the top tier public regional colleges," Pitt- Johnstown President Jem Spectar said of the 2,100 student campus.

The recognition, he said, "further validates the exceptional quality and impact of UPJ students, faculty, staff, and alumni and our overall institutional commitment to excellence."

Among 52 qualifying colleges, only Grove City College (fourth) and Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport (sixth) ranked higher in Pennsylvania.

Cresson-based Mount Aloysius College also made the list, ranking 27th this year.

The magazine said dozens of schools made sizable jumps for 2024, during a year rankings were revamped.

The prominent, annual list has faced increased criticism in recent years from the academic community, and U.S. News Report said its methodology change was the most significant in its decades-long history.

That included placing a greater emphasis on outcomes for graduating seniors and less emphasis on average class sizes, its authors said.

"Alumni giving" — a factor critics often argued favored "prestigious" institutions — was deleted.

"More than 50% of an institution's rank now comprises varying outcome measures related to success in enrolling and graduating students from all backgrounds with manageable debt and post-graduate success," U.S. News and World Report wrote in a media release.

Among qualifying "Regional Universities" in the north — a separate category — St. Francis University ranked 30th of 178 schools.

The school climbed three spots from last year.

Seton Hill University was 39th. Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) ranked 320th among more than 400 peers in a list that included Carnegie Mellon (24th), Penn State University (60th) and the University of Pittsburgh (67th).

Penn State ranked 77th the year prior. The University of Pittsburgh ranked 62nd.