A change in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (WSJ/THE) rankings methodology sent Case Western Reserve’s ranking tumbling to 52nd   this year, 13 slots below its standing in 2018.

For the rankings released last night, the publications chose to apply a new metric to measure student loan burden, shifting from graduates’ default rates—where the university scored 90 out of 100 in 2018—to their average debt—where the score was 39.

The drop came despite modest progress in several other categories, among them papers per faculty, breadth of subjects offered and graduates’ salary. The WSJ/THE analysis also found gains in faculty diversity and international student diversity, along with continued strong performance in spending per student and student engagement.

Case Western Reserve was not the only institution to see a substantial ranking decline this year. Columbia University fell from fourth to 15th, Carnegie Mellon from 16th to 25th, George Washington from 55th to 72nd, Tulane from 56th to 84th, and Northeastern from 69th to 93rd.

“We have made substantial progress in reducing graduates’ average debt, and expect even greater advances to emerge from our move three years ago to meet all admitted students’ full demonstrated need,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “Meanwhile, I commend our faculty for their successes in publishing research, expanding students’ academic options, and preparing graduates to thrive in their future professions.”

The full results can be viewed on The Wall Street Journal’s website (subscription required).