USC rises in latest college rankings

University of South Carolina students make their way past the Russell House on campus.
University of South Carolina students make their way past the Russell House on campus.

The University of South Carolina rose in the latest U.S. News & World Report annual college rankings, while Clemson University slid just outside the Top 20 among public colleges.

USC reached 47th among public universities, up eight spots from a year ago, according to data released Wednesday. South Carolina’s biggest school ranked 108th among all public and private colleges nationwide – up five places.

Clemson University, which reached its goal of becoming a Top 20 public college last year, slipped one place to 21st in the latest rankings. The state’s second-largest college rose a spot to 61st among all schools.

Meanwhile, USC’s international business program topped the national rankings for the 17th consecutive year. The business school overall ranked 43rd.

Clemson placed 16th among most innovative schools, based on polling of college leaders. The school’s engineering program was ranked 56th.

U.S. News’ rankings are dismissed by some academics as arbitrary. But they take into account factors — including class size, freshmen test scores and alumni — that some parents and students use as a guide to help choose a school.

In other rankings:

▪  Regional universities: The Citadel ranked third in the South and first among public colleges. The College of Charleston placed 11th overall in the South, while Converse College was 25th, Winthrop University was 26th, Columbia International University was 35th and Columbia College was 37th.

▪  Historically black colleges: Claflin University ranked eighth in the nation. S.C. State University was 38th.

▪  Debt: Coastal Carolina University graduates had the third-highest average debt in the South at $34,654. The school also ranked sixth in the South for best value.