A&T Scores High in Social Mobility, Innovation and Economic Diversity in U.S. News Rankings

By Todd Simmons / 09/13/2021 Academic Affairs

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2021) -- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s commitment to serving students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and setting them on a lifelong path to success earned significant recognition in the newest annual edition of U.S. News & World Report’s widely followed “Best Colleges” issue.

The nation’s largest historically black university (HBCU) for eight consecutive years, as well as its top rated in Money magazine and Washington Monthly’s annual rankings, North Carolina A&T is now tied for no. 39 among all national universities in Social Mobility, as well as in the top 12 for Economic Diversity.

The former measure, up from a tie for no. 48 last year, rates how effectively A&T prepares students for careers that significantly improve their socioeconomic standing. The latter, a new list within the overall rankings, reflects the percentage of the student body that receive Pell Grants, the largest source of need-based financial aid.

A&T also moved into a national tie at no. 46 among Most Innovative Universities, up from a tie at no. 68 last year. That reflects the growing number of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans who name A&T in national U.S. News surveys as making the most improvements toward curriculum, faculty, students, technology and facilities.

In all three lists, A&T ranks alongside some of the nation’s most highly regarded campuses, such as Yale, Duke, Arizona State, various University of California campuses, Gallaudet, Rutgers and more.

“We are grateful to see that even as we continue to grow larger, our colleagues and peers recognize that we are making significant strides in enhancing student success and campus innovation,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. “We see that reflected in the record numbers of students who are applying to and enrolling in A&T, and in the markedly higher measures of academic success they bring to our university.”

A&T has its largest-ever student body this fall, with 13,322 students enrolled. Its record entering first-year class of 2,930 brought with it an average GPA of 3.7 – a significant increase over the 3.06 average when Martin took the reins of A&T in 2009.

A&T’s top 50 Most Innovative ranking comes on the heels of it having joined the invitation-only University Innovation Alliance over the summer, becoming one of 11 institutions nationally – and the only HBCU -- in the consortium. The prestigious organization focuses heavily on innovation around raising graduation rates, serving students across the socioeconomic spectrum, social mobility and global competitiveness.

Elsewhere in the new U.S. News & World Report rankings:

  • A&T is included in the ranked list of National Universities for the third consecutive year, tied with 10 other institutions at no. 277. Only 298 universities are ranked nationwide; the remaining national institutions fall into a category of campuses that are reviewed, but not ranked.


  • A&T is the no. 2-ranked public HBCU nationally in this year’s listings, slightly trailing Florida A&M after having tied FAMU for the top position in last year’s rankings. It is no. 8 on the magazine’s overall HBCU list, which favors private campuses with significant endowments.


  • A&T’s peer scores continue to reflect growing regard for the university across higher education. In the National Universities ranking, peers gave A&T a rating of 2.4 on a 5.0 scale, making this the university’s fourth consecutive year of upward movement in that key measure. Among HBCUs, it earned a 4.3, which tied it with Howard University for second highest on a list led by Spelman College at 4.7.


“We thank our colleagues for their recognition of our work illustrated in these higher peer scores. Our students are the real beneficiaries of the work behind these strong evaluations, but it is rewarding to see others take notice of our innovation and impact,” said Martin.

Media Contact Information: thsimmons@ncat.edu

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