Leuven University in top 100
The Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) is for the third year running the only Belgian university to figure in the top 100 list compiled by The Times newspaper. The KUL advanced seven places on last year’s ranking to finish in 65th place.
The universities on the list were each given points regarding staff-student ratios, number of international staff, number of published articles by staff cited in journals and number of international students. As always, Harvard University heads the list with an overall score of 100. Cambridge comes next with 99.6, followed by Yale with 99.1. Leuven scored 74.2, with its advantages outweighed by a very low score on staff-student ratios.
Leuven’s French-speaking counterpart, the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, is the next Belgian establishment to figure on the list, in 126th place. Others on the list are Ghent (136), Antwerp (177) and the Free University of Brussels ULB (191).
Flemish commentators argued that four UK universities reached the top six partly because of the way that higher education is organised and financed in that country. Oxford and Cambridge, for example, can select from a huge pool of potential students, which means they get the best students, according to Eric Spruyt of Antwerp University. In addition, those universities are allowed to spend the high tuition fees they charge on their own research and staff costs, while in Flanders there is no monetary link between student numbers and income. “While we’re bringing in more students, our budget is not going up,” Spruyt said.
The rankings are a matter of prestige to those universities that feature on the list, said Leuven vice-rector Peter Marynen. “Our place in the rankings will certainly play a role in attracting international staff and exchange students,” he said.