Despite a Challenging Year, USM Schools Remain Among Best in Nation

Publications Such as U.S. News & World Report, Money Magazine Recognize Campuses System-Wide for Academic Excellence and Value

Baltimore, Md. (Sept. 21, 2020) – Despite an eventful and challenging year in higher education, University System of Maryland institutions continue to consistently rank among the nation’s best options for students and families. Last week’s release of U.S. News & World Report’s annual national ranking of colleges and universities was only the latest in an impressive stretch of national and international recognitions for USM campuses.

“During an extraordinary year—one that’s been far from routine and far from easy—we take great pride in this kind of recognition. Of course, it’s achieved only through the excellence and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff,” said USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “I’m especially proud that these rankings touch a broad cross-section of our System. We strive every day to succeed as one, and our state is stronger for the consistently powerful impact each institution brings to the people it serves.”

The U.S. News & World Report 2021 edition of “Best Colleges” recognizes several USM institutions for academic excellence.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) No. 19 overall among public universities and colleges in the United States— an increase of five spots from last year’s No. 24 ranking. UMCP now ranks No. 58 overall among institutions—public and private—nationally (an improvement of eight spots). The magazine ranked UMCP No. 22 among Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, No. 14 in Learning Communities and No. 5 overall in that category for publics.

The university is also featured in Money magazine’s “The Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value.” and Campus Pride named the university the No. 1 college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students in its latest (June 2020) report. The Wall Street Journal “Best Colleges 2021” edition, released the evening of Sept. 17, ranks UMCP No. 77 overall.

U.S. News & World Report placed Towson University (TU) 100th among public national universities. TU also ranked in the top 100 among universities in diversity and tied Harvard University in social mobility. This is the second year that Towson University has been classified in the national rankings by U.S. News.  Previously, TU has been ranked regionally in the Northeast, but this year was moved into the national rankings due to a change in its Carnegie Classification. The publication ranks the institution No. 196 among all national universities.

In a global assessment of 20,000 institutions of higher education, the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) placed TU among the top 9 percent of universities worldwide in its annual review. Meanwhile, Princeton Review again named Towson University among the Northeast’s top colleges in the publication’s “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” list. The publication chose 224 universities in 11 states for being the region’s most academically outstanding institutions. In a testament to work led by the Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility, TU also made the publication’s roundup of America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting, where it is one of just nine institutions with a student voter registration rate above 85%.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is once again a leading performer in the U.S. News & World Report rankings on two closely watched lists. The 2021 U.S. News and World Report “Best Colleges” rankings report has UMBC at No. 11 for undergraduate teaching and No. 9 on the list of most innovative schools in the nation. UMBC is the only Maryland school represented in the top ten in innovation, standing alongside such universities as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Caltech. 

Princeton Review’s “Best 386 Colleges” for 2021 notes UMBC’s reputation for its students balancing a serious education with engagement in campus life and issues that matter to them. UMBC is also featured in the 2021 edition of Money magazine’s “Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value.” The Wall Street Journal “Best Colleges 2021” edition, released the evening of Sept. 17, includes UMBC in its rankings here.

Frostburg State University (FSU) is ranked No. 113 among Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report and No. 38 among public universities in this category. Frostburg State ranks No. 51 in the category of Social Mobility.

Washington Monthly 2021 Best College Guide ranked Frostburg State among the best Master’s Universities at No. 32. Money magazine’s “The Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value” also noted FSU among the top 500 in its 2021 edition.

U.S. News again honored Salisbury University (SU) in its annual rankings. In the northern region, SU ranked 67th in the top tier among 176 publics and privates, and 41st among the north’s “Best Value Schools.” It also was named No. 16 among “Top Public Universities” in the north.

In addition, SU once again made the U.S. News list of “A-Plus Schools for B Students” and “Best Colleges for Veterans.” Also touting the value of SU for student is Princeton Review’s “Best 386 Colleges” for 2021 and Money magazine’s “Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value”—which ranked it among the top 200 value schools. The Princeton Review recognized SU on its “20 Best Libraries” list.

The University of Baltimore (UB) is cited in Washington Monthly's rankings of Best Colleges for Student Voting in 2020. The newly released list, ordered by total voter registration, shows UB in 11th place nationally. Of all the public and private U.S. institutions included in the ranking, UB has the 11th highest voter registration. The publication also lists UB among the nation’s best Master’s Universities. UB ranks No. 65 (tie) of all public affairs schools of its kind in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 edition of “The Best Grad Schools.” U.S. News also ranks UB No. 26 for best nonprofit management specializations at the master's degree level.

All three of the USM’s historically black institutions are recognized among the Top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report 2021 “America’s Best Colleges” list for Historically Black Colleges: the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is ranked No. 18; Bowie State University is No. 26; and Coppin State University improved six spots to No. 43. Bowie State also ranked No. 50 out of 62 public institutions in the Regional Universities North, and UMES ranked No. 39 in the category of Top Performers on Social Mobility. Bowie State ranked No. 80 in the same category.

Money magazine continues
to recognize the competitive value of a Bowie State University education by ranking BSU on its 2020-21 Best Colleges in America list among the nation’s top colleges and universities that best combine educational quality with affordability.

U.S. News ranked University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) to a prestigious No. 9 ranking in the category of Most Innovative Schools and No. 98 in Top Performers on Social Mobility for Regional Universities North.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)—Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university—comprises six professional schools and an interdisciplinary graduate school. The university confers most health care, human services, and law professional degrees in Maryland each year. As noted by the university’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and Assessment, these professional schools are routinely ranked among the nation’s best, with several “Top 10” rankings as well. The Center for World University Rankings profiles UMB here.

The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.

Systemwide, student enrollment exceeds 172,000. The USM and its institutions compete successfully nearly $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719