US Universities Lead World Rankings, UK And Australia Stagnate

In the world of prestigious university and college rankings, the United States still comes out on top — while the United Kingdom may be on the decline. According to The Telegraph’s Graeme Paton, a new study shows that the United States holds 46 of the top 100 most prestigious schools in the world.

In the study, which is compiled by several thousand senior academics in 150 countries, Harvard University took first place with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology coming in second and Stanford University coming in third. All of these schools are located within the United States.

The United Kingdom is second behind the United States in the number of the world’s leading prestigious universities. Cambridge University came in at number four behind Stanford, and Oxford dropped to fifth place from fourth in 2013. The other five top ten spots went to American universities including Yale, Princeton, and UC-Berkeley.

The United Kingdom had ten universities in the top one hundred most prestigious universities list.

Some Britons are worried about the United Kingdom’s universities falling behind the United States’.

“Phil Baty, the table’s editor, said: ‘The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list of the world’s 100 most prestigious institutions since the rankings were first published in 2011. In 2012, Sheffield exited the rankings, in 2013 Leeds followed suit, and this year Bristol misses out.’”

“Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern. The UK has some of the world’s biggest university brands: we must protect them.”

Some, like Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ group, are less worried about the study. She points out that the study is just a small picture of their sector and that the opinion of a university’s prestige is very subjective. She is happy to see that, with the United Kingdom being so small, they appear to be pulling their own weight for universities. She conceeds, however, that the country should be doing more to help the global recognition of its universities.

Australia is also feeling the pressure about the prestige of its universities. According to The Guardian’s / Australian Associated Press, Australian budget cuts are to blame for their universities’ loss of prestige.

All of Australia’s universities lost ground in 2014. Melbourne University is now the only university in Australia to be in the top 50. Australia is now equal fourth with Japan in the top one hundred world’s prestigious universities list.

Some say the United States’ universities and colleges are better equipped to ride out the recent economic storm than most international universities because they are less dependent on the government for support. Most prestigious American universities rely on private funding and high tuition rates for their financial security. Only a small amount of the money they receive is from the government, so federal budget cuts are not a crisis to them. Many international colleges must rely on their governments’ funding and if national budgets are cut, some of their support is cut with it.