Emory has fallen down one spot from No. 20 to No. 21 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” released this morning. The drop in ranking marks the first time in 21 years Emory has fallen outside of the top 20-ranked national universities.

Emory received an overall score of 77, down two points from its overall score last year, 79, according to Nancy Seideman, interim vice president of communications and marketing.

Although Emory fell in the national rankings, it moved up one spot from No. 19 to No. 18 in the category of “best value” among national universities, according a Sept. 9 University press release.

Georgetown University, which was previously in a three-way tie with Emory and the University of California–Berkeley with overall scores of 79 also received a score of 77 and is now tied with Emory at 21.

Emory’s Goizueta Business School, which was ranked among other undergraduate business programs, also fell in U.S. News’ ranking from No. 13 to No. 15.

The B-school is ranked separately from the University’s main undergraduate program and is reviewed through a peer survey of deans and senior faculty, according to the release.

Seideman wrote in an email to the Wheel that there were a few statistical differences in the statistics submitted from Emory this year and last year.

According to Seideman, in the reported data, there was a decrease in the percentage of students in the top 10 percent of their high school class (80 percent to 76 percent), a decrease in the percentage of undergraduate alumni giving (29.5 percent to 25.7 percent) and an increase in the student-to-faculty ratio (7:1 to 8:1).

Seideman added that Emory’s graduation rate went up and the retention rank remained the same, but Emory’s overall ranking in the category of graduation and retention declined because of changes in data reported from other schools.

In reference to the change in student-to-faculty ratio, Seideman wrote, “The ratio changed due to a slight increase in enrolled students, and due to the standardization of data based on criteria provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which we applied to our reporting in preparation of the reaffirmation of reaccreditation.”

Referring to the decrease in undergraduate alumni giving, Seideman noted that the decrease follows a national trend in declining alumni participation, citing the Council for Aid to Education (CAE).

She added that CAE’s annual report said that alumni participation decreased nationally by 5 percent.

Students are disappointed by the news of Emory’s drop in the ranking but have expressed no change in opinion of Emory.

“I’ve been at Emory three years now, it’s still a great school and the same school I applied to,” B-School senior Robert Finger said. “I don’t think this ranking means that Emory is any less of a great school. If we just keep doing what we’ve been doing, the rankings will come back.”

College sophomore Jenny Nutovits expressed that although she was saddened by the news, she is confident Emory will make a comeback into the top 20.

“Between our prestigious staff, bright student body and enriching community, Emory truly provides a unique higher education for all,” Nutovits said. “With the constant coverage on the Ebola patients and their recovery, I believe it is clear, not only to us but to the world, how exceptional Emory is.”

Seideman expressed that she does not see the fall out of the top 20 as a trend in Emory’s position in the ranking.

“The quality and value of an Emory education continue to be one of the strongest in the nation. Emory students are engaged by one of the world’s best faculties both in and outside the classroom, in teaching, mentoring, advising and providing research and other learning opportunities unique to an Emory student experience.”

Seideman noted that recognition by external agencies is gratifying but that Emory’s focus continues to be “providing the best possible academic experience for our students.”

–By Dustin Slade