U.S. News lists UMES in top tier of black colleges

Sep 13, 2012

PRINCESS ANNE, Md.--The latest independent study by “U.S. News & World Report” has been released and for the sixth consecutive year, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. 

UMES was rated 33rd, joining fellow Maryland HBCUs Morgan State and Bowie State in the upper tier.  Dr. Juliette B. Bell, beginning her first year as president at UMES, comes to the post from Central State University; an HBCU in Ohio also listed in the top tier.

“We’re pleased our peers continue to think highly of UMES,” Bell said. “Our goal is to move the university from ‘excellence to eminence’ and this annual survey certainly can provide inspiration in reaching those heights. We’re prepared to do the hard work it takes.”

According to U.S. News, the nation’s historically black colleges are increasing becoming more appealing to students of all races.  UMES’ student body is roughly 75 percent African-American.  The separate peer survey asks the president, provost and admissions dean at each of the 80 HBCUs qualified to be ranked to rate the academic quality of other black schools. 

Peer assessment accounts for 25 percent of the equation with equal weight given to graduation and retention rates.  The strength of the faculty, student selectivity—high school class standing and test scores—and the institution’s financial resources make up the other half.  The same formula is used in the “Best College” rankings for regional universities.

UMES’ high ranking over the past six years coincides with strong enrollment numbers.  This year, the university enrolled 950 freshman and 181 transfer students for a  student body of just over 4,500, Tyrone Young, director of admissions, said.  Overall test scores have risen 60 points over the past four years with mean SAT scores haven risen 14.5 points over the past year. 

Undergraduate students have 34 degrees to select from, while graduate students choose from among 14 master’s and seven doctoral degrees.  UMES also boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio (25 to 1), 26 of its academic programs are accredited and retention rates have consistently risen. 

University supporters have responded to these positive trends by making record-breaking contributions.  UMES this summer was named a Circle of Excellence Education Fundraising Award winner for 2012 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).  It was one of 65 four-year institutions to be honored and the only HBCU to earn the distinction.


Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu   

Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, wrobinson3@umes.edu.

Office of Public Relations
University of Maryland Eastern Shore