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Ivy Leagues Top U.S News & World Report College Rankings

Jenny Chen |
September 13, 2011 | 6:01 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor


Harvard University tied with Princeton University to take first place on the annual ranking of U.S. universities.
Harvard University tied with Princeton University to take first place on the annual ranking of U.S. universities.
According to the 28th edition of the U.S. News and World Report university rankings, Ivy Leagues once again are the best schools in the nation. 

Harvard University snagged first place tied with Princeton University, followed by Yale University and Columbia University. 

California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania rounded out the top 10 in a five-way tie. 

The top 20 universities varied little from last year, although University of Chicago jumped four spots, forcing Dartmouth University out of the top 10. 

Other big jumps include the University of Miami, which jumped nine spots to No. 38, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which dropped down to No. 50. 

Going to a top-tier school doesn’t come at a cheap price, as tuition and fees totaled to about $39,849 and $37,000 at Harvard and Princeton, respectively. 

Yet, parents might be interested that the best colleges in the nation also topped the Best Value list. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT took the top five spots by offering the largest percentage of need-based financial aid.  U.S. News said 61.4 percent of Harvard students received need-based grants, compared with 56.6 percent of Yale students. 

The University of California system is ranked as the best public school system, with five of its schools ranked in the top ten public universities. Both University of California – Los Angeles and University of California – Berkeley are noted as the best public schools on the overall university rankings. 

In the National Liberal Arts Colleges category, Williams College took first place once again over Amherst College. These schools, followed by Swarthmore College, are ranked as the top liberal arts colleges offering at least half their degrees in liberal arts.

Schools like University of Maryland-Baltimore County, George Mason University, and Indiana University-Purdue University topped the up-and-coming schools list. These represent the colleges “making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, and student life.”  

The magazine ranks schools according to criteria including the college’s financial endowments, average SAT scores of incoming students, assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, alumni giving, graduation rate, high school counselor ratings of colleges, and more. 

The largest factor in the ranking is the assessment of the school’s reputation by peer institutions and high school college admissions counselors, amounting to 22.5 percent

U.S. News & World Report has compiled these rankings annually since 1983. Some academics disagree with the ratings and suggest that school officials seek ways to look better for the rankings.

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