UC pulls rank: No. 3 for co-op in U.S. News guide

Overall, UC rose eight places among national universities. Moreover, UC now stands at No. 3 for co-op and internships, beating out MIT, Duke, Stanford and more.

Just as the University of Cincinnati opens its school year by marking the 7th straight year of record enrollment (more than 46,000 students this year), it’s also rising in the latest U.S. News undergraduate rankings.

The latest 2020 issue of the magazine’s influential Best Colleges guide ranks the University of Cincinnati 139th among the top tier of national universities, up from 147th last year. Just as importantly, the university outpaces almost all national rivals on performance indicators important to students and their families – specifically UC’s national No. 3 ranking for co-ops and internships. (Among public universities, UC is No. 1 for co-ops and internships.)  

As the global founder of cooperative education, UC houses the world’s third-largest co-op program where each year, students earn a collective $75 million annually working for about 1,300 international employers. The program allows UC students to sequentially alternate academic semesters with professional, paid work directly tied to their majors with employers like Apple, Boeing, Disney, Fisher Price, HBO, NASA, Nike, P&G, Toyota and hundreds more, including non-profits and start-ups too.

In this year’s rankings, UC’s experience-based co-ops and internships beat out similar programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

“Academic excellence is a priority for us. We take pride in seeing our rankings rise and our No. 3 ranking for co-ops and internships. We can be equally proud that UC is making academic gains and working even harder to foster student success while protecting affordability for our students and their families,” said UC President Neville Pinto.

And while co-op’s role in making today’s college experience more engaging and affordable is vital, the university’s Next Live Here strategic plan is also focusing on developing tomorrow’s co-ops, internships and related opportunities. These will provide forward-looking, competitive experiences to the next generation of students in the digital knowledge economy and expand work-integrated experiences to greater numbers of students.

Co-Op students working at LPK shot for ProPel

UC undergraduates help generate creative technical solutions during their global co-op experiences. photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

A case in point

UC just received a $12-million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund the Next Apprenticeship Program. The innovative program will create robust, flexible pathways to well-paying, high-skill careers in informatics and computing-related fields by meeting students where they are and offering a thoughtful combination of industry-recognized credentials and varying degree options coupled with industry experience. Created with the support of a consortium of partner colleges as well as businesses such as Northrop Grumman, GE Aviation and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, the program should be especially helpful to unemployed and underemployed underrepresented minority populations and veterans.

A continuing focus on students

UC’s overall rise in the rankings to No. 139 is spurred by improved graduation rates, improved retention of first-year students, and higher peer assessments, according to Susana Luzuriaga, director of UC’s Institutional Research Office.

This fall, Luzuriaga expects UC’s first-year retention rate to hit a new record of 88.4 percent, and UC’s six-year graduation rate currently stands at 68 percent. These retention and graduation rates are especially noteworthy due to the university’s role as a Carnegie Classified Research 1 university where 28 percent of the university’s first-year, degree-seeking students are eligible for Pell grants. (Federal Pell grants are provided to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.)

Importantly, these retention and graduation achievements are also tied to the university’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here, and its Bearcat Promise that all students will graduate with a diploma in one hand and a career plan in the other.

“These advances are a direct result of the innovative and holistic educational approaches and outcomes developed and implemented by members of our campus community,” says Kristi Nelson, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“We have taken a very purposeful approach to build student and graduate success rate strategies that support and leverage the impacts of student learning in the classroom and through co-op, research and community engagement.”

Other findings

UC’s overall rankings saw its standing among public universities rise to No. 64, up 11 spots over last year, and the university is listed among top performers on social mobility, among Best Value schools as well as among the best colleges for veterans.  

See more UC rankings.


Featured image at top: Co-op student from UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. photo/UC Creative Services

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