U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Connecticut as one of the top 20 national public research universities, placing it at 19th for 2012, up from 27th in 2011.

The “Best Colleges 2012” rankings placed UConn at 58th among national universities, up from 69th in 2011. It was also named the best public university in New England for the 13th year in a row.

“UConn knows it’s a great university and we’re of course thrilled to be recognized for it; breaking the top 20 is important for us as an institution and puts us in some very good company,” said UConn President Susan Herbst in an e-mailed statement. “There are different schools of thought on the value of college rankings, and institutions can rise and fall for different reasons, but the U.S. News list is important and people do pay attention to it.”

“We have a great reputation, our efforts to ensure our students are staying in school and graduating on time are really paying off and it’s gratifying to see the university rise so dramatically in the rankings because of it,” she added.

UConn boasts an 81 percent 2010 graduation rate and a freshman retention rate of 93 percent.

Southern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University hovered around 125th place among northern regional universities. Eastern fell to 98th from 91st place and Central fell from 99th to 110th.

Fairfield University and Quinnipiac University remained in the top 20 northern regional universities. Wesleyan University ranks 12th among national liberal arts colleges, down from 11th in 2011, while Trinity College holds the 37th spot, down from 36th. Yale University continues to hold its ranking as the 3rd best university in the country.

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