OKLAHOMA CITY (TNS) — Three private universities retain their claim as Oklahoma’s highest-ranking schools in the 2018 Best Colleges report released Tuesday by U.S. News & World Report.

But two public institutions showed the most improvement, climbing at least a dozen spots from their ranking last year.

The 2018 Best Colleges rankings includes data on more than 1,800 public and private colleges and universities. It is the 33rd annual list focusing on academic excellence.

Best national

universities

Princeton University is No. 1 on the Best National Universities list for the seventh year in a row. Among public schools, the University of California-Los Angeles moved up one space to tie with the University of California-Berkeley, which has been the highest-ranking public university for 20 years.

The University of Tulsa finished first in the state at 87 in a three-way tie. The private research university has been a Top 100 research university on the list for 15 years.

“The University of Tulsa’s ranking is a direct result of our sustained commitment to excellence,” said TU President Gerard Clancy.

“Our success hinges on TU’s ability to engage and empower a diverse population of students and alumni. Uncovering new talents and honing their abilities through opportunities such as undergraduate research and specialized leadership programs allow TU students to thrive in college, in their careers and in the world,” he said.

The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University also are ranked among the Best National Universities. OSU is at 156 in a three-way tie.

For the first time, OU is ranked among the top 100 institutions, coming in at 97 in a six-way tie. OU moved up 14 spots from 111 last year.

“The hard work and dedication of all members of the OU family have made this achievement possible,” OU President David Boren said. “It confirms the high quality of education and standard of excellence that have become synonymous with the University of Oklahoma.”

The U.S. News rankings emphasize student outcomes — including graduation and retention rates — which carry the most weight at 30 percent. Other factors considered are expert opinion, 22.5 percent; faculty resources, 20 percent; student excellence, 12.5 percent; financial resources, 10 percent; and alumni giving, 5 percent.

Regional rankings

The report also lists Best Regional Universities and Best Regional Colleges. Oklahoma is one of 15 states in the West.

Oklahoma City University again is the top state school on the West list, with a ranking of 27 in a two-way tie.

Provost Kent Buchanan said OCU’s standing reflects the university’s commitment to providing high quality education and academic rigor.

“Our professors are focused on student success, from giving them personalized educational opportunities to connecting them with leading employers. We promote the idea of servant leadership, encourage our students to think creatively and to make positive impacts on the community,” Buchanan said.

Also making the Best Regional Universities in the West list are Oklahoma Christian University and Oral Roberts University, both at 47 in seven-way tie; and Oklahoma Wesleyan University, at 81 in a five way-way tie.

The University of Central Oklahoma is the state’s highest ranked public university on the list. UCO jumped 12 spots from last year to 76 in a five-way tie.

“We are appreciative of our peers in the West acknowledging our commitment to success for our students and in community development and prosperity,” President Don Betz said.

For the 24th consecutive year, Oklahoma Baptist University is the highest-ranking Oklahoma school on the Best Regional Colleges list. OBU moved up two spots from last year to 3 in a three-way tie.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings represent and validate the outstanding performance and achievements of OBU’s marvelous faculty, staff and students,” President David Whitlock said.

“We are pleased to see that our affordability is also recognized, with OBU ranked first for Western colleges for our students having the least debt upon graduation. This is a result of the numerous scholarship and financial aid opportunities that help make an OBU degree so affordable.”

All new freshman at OBU receive a guaranteed minimum $5,000 scholarship per year.

Other Oklahoma schools on the list of Best Regional Colleges in the West and their rankings are St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, 19, and Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, 21.