The US News America’s Best Colleges is the protype of modern university ranking and has had an important influence on American higher education over the last few decades.
The rankings are based on a mix of indicators that include graduation and retention rates, social mobility, academic reputation, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and graduate debt.
There have been several methodological changes this year. There are two new measures of graduate indebtedness which has resulted in an increase in the weighting assigned to graduate outcomes. Institutions that do not accept standardised test scores are now ranked for the first time and less weight is given to student excellence, which is measured by standardised test scores and high school rank, and alumni gifts.
US News publishes several tables including best national universities, best regional universities and best liberal arts colleges.
The top five national universities this year are:
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Columbia University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Yale University.
The top institutions in various categories are:
National Liberal Arts Colleges; Williams College, Massachusetts
Best Value; Harvard University
Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Spelman College, Georgia
Regional Colleges North; US Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut
Regional Colleges South; High Point University, North Carolina
Regional Colleges Midwest; Cottey College, Missouri
Regional Colleges West; Carroll College, Montana.