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U.S. News & World Report Announces 2019 Best Colleges Rankings

Newest edition includes data on social mobility and drops acceptance rates, emphasizing outcomes

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, today unveiled the 2019 Best Colleges, with data on more than 1,800 schools across the U.S. For the first time, the University of California—Los Angeles is the sole No. 1 Top Public School among National Universities, having tied for first in the 2018 ranking. The California university system improved in the rankings because of their performance graduating high proportions of low-income students – new this year in the Best Colleges methodology.

Five of the top 10 schools on the top publics list belong to California schools. The University of California—Santa Barbara moved up three spots to a tie at No. 5 on this list, and the University of California—Irvine also improved, rising from a tie at No. 9 to No. 7. Among the overall Best National Universities, Princeton University is No. 1 for the eighth straight year, and Williams College maintains its 16-year streak as the Best National Liberal Arts College.

Focusing on academic excellence, the Best Colleges rankings evaluate schools on hundreds of data points using up to 16 measures of academic quality. U.S. News updated the Best Colleges methodology to further emphasize student outcomes, which hold the most weight at 35 percent – up from 30 percent last year. Through this update, U.S. News is measuring how well schools support low-income students through graduation. U.S. News also eliminated acceptance rate as a rankings factor to give more weight to outcomes measures.

"International students looking to study in the U.S. can begin their search with the Best Colleges platform, which provides the in-depth information students need to make a well-informed choice about their education," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. "Using the rankings as a starting point, students should look beyond the top 20 and focus on the school that best fits their goals, which includes whether a school offers their major, is in a large city or rural location, has academic support services, is graduating students at high levels and more."

Beyond the rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges offers:

  • Rankings, lists and additional data: The 2019 edition of Best Colleges includes a list of colleges and universities with the Most International Students, Most Innovative Schools and a list of the A-plus Schools for B Students. For students with specific career paths in mind, U.S. News ranks the top schools in undergraduate engineering and business. The University of Pennsylvania tops the business list, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is No. 1 for engineering schools that offer doctorates.
  • User Ratings, Reviews and Q&As: Students and families researching their college options can now see reviews and ratings from current students, alumni, staff and more. Reviews encompass a range of topics on college experiences, and a Q&A portion answers prospective students' questions about campus culture, dining, extracurricular activities, teaching styles and more. This content does not influence the rankings, which are based on academic quality. To get started, users can find their schools using the U.S. News College Search tool.
  • Postgraduate salary information on 1,500 schools: Using data provided by PayScale, U.S. News displays alumni salary information on school profile pages. Subscribers to the U.S. News College Compass, which provides access to the complete rankings and data, will also see salaries broken down by major per school. Salary was not a factor in determining the rankings.

Additionally, earlier this year, U.S. News released a list of the Top Universities for International Students, which highlights schools that have a track record of serving their international students well by offering social and cultural support, having international student organizations and graduating their students at high rates. Specifically for Chinese students, U.S. News also offers a Chinese-language resource center to help prepare for applying to American universities.

The launch of this edition of Best Colleges is being sponsored by Fidelity Investments, one of the leading providers of retirement solutions to colleges and universities. To learn more about the U.S. News College Compass, or to order a copy of the "Best Colleges 2019" guidebook (ISBN 978-1-931469-91-3), visit the online U.S. News store.

2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges

National Universities – Top 5
1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Columbia University (NY) (tie)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)
3. University of Chicago (tie)
3. Yale University (CT) (tie)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5
1. Williams College (MA)
2. Amherst College (MA)
3. Swarthmore College (PA) (tie)
3. Wellesley College (MA) (tie)
5. Bowdoin College (ME) (tie)
5. Carleton College (MN) (tie)
5. Middlebury College (VT) (tie)
5. Pomona College (CA) (tie)

Top Public Schools

National Universities – Top 5
1. University of California–Los Angeles
2. University of California–Berkeley
3. University of Virginia
4. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
5. University of California–Santa Barbara (tie)
5. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (tie)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5
1. United States Military Academy (NY)
2. United States Naval Academy (MD)
3. United States Air Force Academy (CO)
4. Virginia Military Institute
5. New College of Florida

Schools with the Most International Students

National Universities – Top 5
Florida Institute of Technology: 32%
The New School (NY): 32%
University of Rochester (NY): 24%
Boston University: 22%
Carnegie Mellon University (PA): 22%
Suffolk University (MA): 22%

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5 
Soka University of America (CA): 43%
Mount Holyoke College (MA): 27%
St. John's College (NM): 26%
Bryn Mawr College (PA): 23%
College of the Atlantic (ME): 22%
Earlham College (IN): 22%
St. John's College (MD): 22%

For more information, visit Best Colleges and continue the conversation on Weibo.

About U.S. News & World Report
Celebrating its 85th year, U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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