Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger Brindley, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William H. Young, Ed.D.


global rankings, university finanical resources, university league tables, university rankings


Global rankings are a popular way for governments, HEI’s, faculty, staff, and students to compare institutions worldwide, therefore it is important to rank well. However, in order to have top-quality research and education programs, HEI’s need to have significant financial resources. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between an institution’s financial resources and its global ranking. The results of this study provide additional insight and a better understanding of global rankings and the nature of the relationship between various financial resources and global rankings.

This was a quantitative study that used ranking data from the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, as well as financial data from IPEDS. Descriptive statistics were presented to develop an awareness of the data set characteristics. Linear regression and the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient (PPMCC) were reported to gauge the strength of the relationship between the financial resource independent variables and the global ranking dependent variables.

This study indicated there was a strong relationship between an institution’s financial resources and its global ranking as there was a strong positive correlation between total revenue and an institution’s global ranking. In addition, the study showed that institutions should continue to self-generate financial resources, such as tuition revenue and research funding. This is especially true for research funding as it had the strongest relationship with ranking, which means institutions would be wise to continue focusing on investing in their research programs. This study also showed that some financial variables such as endowment size and state appropriation only had weak to moderate relationships with the global rankings.

Based on this study, one could conclude then that global rankings are influenced by money, which supports the claims of critics that university rankings are biased. Thus, institutions will continue to be challenged to find some balance between investing in what global rankings measure while also maintaining other initiatives that address their core missions but are not counted in the rankings.