This article uses regional ratings in the problem of evaluating the level of development of higher education in the regions of Russia. Using published ratings of the development of education across regions, the author analyzes the situation in the Yaroslavl region. She determines 11 parameters that characterize higher professional education in the region and investigates the reasons for their change over the course of two years. The article stresses the practical use of such studies for designing programs for the regional development of education. The author proposes a method for improving the data used in ratings, which would ensure the comparability of data. The possibility of increasing the number of parameters and of changing the contents of ratings is discussed.