Forbes Magazine's List of America's Best Colleges

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In 2008, Forbes.com began publishing an annual list of America's Top Colleges.[1] Post-graduate success (alumni salaries from PayScale and data from the federal Department of Education) constitutes 35% of the score. Student debt levels constitute 20% of the score. Student experience (retention rates reported by the Department of Education and data from Niche) constitutes 20% of the score. Graduation rates constitute 12.5% of the score. Academic success (using both the percentage of a school's student body that goes on to obtain doctorate degrees, and those students who have won one of a diverse array of prestigious academic awards) constitutes 12.5%. Public reputation is not considered, which causes some colleges to score lower than in other lists. A three-year moving average is used to smooth out the scoring.

Starting in 2013, four schools that had admitted to misreporting admissions data were removed from the list for two years. The four removed colleges were Bucknell University, Claremont McKenna College, Emory University, and Iona College.[2]

Rankings[edit]

Forbes rated Princeton University the country’s best college in its inaugural (2008) list.[3] West Point took the top honor the following year.[4] Williams College was ranked first both in 2010 and 2011, and Princeton returned to the top spot in 2012.[5][6][7] In 2013 and 2016, Stanford University occupied the No. 1 spot, with elite liberal arts schools Williams and Pomona College topping the rankings in the intervening years.[8][9][10][11][12][13] The magazine ranked Harvard University as America's best college from 2017 until 2021, when the University of California, Berkeley topped the list, becoming the first public school to ever do so.[14][15]

America’s Top Colleges (Top 100)[16][17][14]
Institution 2021 2019 2018
University of California, Berkeley 1 13 14
Yale University 2 3 2
Princeton University 3 5 5
Stanford University 4 2 3
Columbia University 5 14 15
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 6 4 4
Harvard University 7 1 1
University of California, Los Angeles 8 38 48
University of Pennsylvania 9 6 7
Northwestern University 10 17 20
Dartmouth College 11 10 9
Duke University 12 9 10
Cornell University 13 11 13
Vanderbilt University 14 27 32
University of California, San Diego 15 79 81
Amherst College 16 28 16
University of Southern California 17 30 30
Williams College 18 19 11
Pomona College 19 12 19
University of California, Davis 20 88 94
Georgetown University 21 15 12
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 22 20 22
University of Chicago 23 16 18
Rice University 24 21 28
University of Florida 25 70 68
Brown University 26 7 8
University of Washington-Seattle 27 64 72
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 28 45 47
US Military Academy 29 32 27
University of Virginia 30 33 34
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 31 68 56
Wellesley College 32 44 44
Washington University in St. Louis 33 31 36
Georgia Institute of Technology 34 65 88
Emory University 35 55 52
Bowdoin College 36 26 17
Johns Hopkins University 37 22 25
Tufts University 38 34 33
University of California, Santa Barbara 39 84 85
California Institute of Technology 40 8 6
University of Notre Dame 41 18 21
University of Maryland, College Park 42 63 61
Swarthmore College 43 25 24
Middlebury College 44 36 34
University of Texas at Austin 45 76 74
Claremont McKenna College 46 29 26
University of California, Irvine 47 87 96
Colgate University 48 46 45
Carnegie Mellon University 49 37 63
Texas A&M University 50 103 108
College of William and Mary 51 47 43
Barnard College 52 50 57
Brigham Young University 53 95 86
Wesleyan University 54 40 37
United States Naval Academy 55 24 31
Boston College 56 41 50
Davidson College 57 48 41
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 58 115 137
University of Wisconsin, Madison 59 69 75
Cooper Union 60 58 53
Purdue University 61 118 126
Stony Brook University, SUNY 62 176 182
Washington and Lee University 63 42 39
CUNY, Baruch College 64 174 178
Lehigh University 65 67 67
United States Air Force Academy 66 43 40
San Diego State University 67 181 219
Lafayette College 68 57 58
University of Georgia 69 99 103
University of Connecticut 70 130 144
Santa Clara University 71 51 76
George Washington University 72 78 90
Vassar College 73 61 51
Wake Forest University 74 56 62
Virginia Tech 75 108 110
Northeastern University 76 182 217
Binghamton University, SUNY 77 145 123
University of Rochester 78 82 83
North Carolina State University, Raleigh 79 139 141
New York University 80 35 48
Babson College 81 62 64
Trinity College (CT) 82 109 89
Boston University 83 74 78
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 84 98 106
California State University, Long Beach 85 272 286
Hamilton College 86 59 60
University of Miami (FL) 87 90 100
Bucknell University 88 73 73
Harvey Mudd College 89 23 23
Indiana University, Bloomington 90 131 132
George Mason University 91 177 169
Colby College 92 75 80
Michigan State University 93 159 135
Florida State University 94 151 163
University of Utah 95 187 212
James Madison University 96 136 143
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 97 113 111
California State University, Fullerton 98 300 317
University of California, Santa Cruz 99 183 185
Villanova University 100 72 70

References[edit]

  1. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  2. ^ "'Forbes' Boots 4 Colleges From Its Rankings". Inside Higher Ed. July 25, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  3. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2008". Forbes. August 13, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2009". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Noer, Michael (August 3, 2011). "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Goldstein, Rachel (August 5, 2011). "Williams College Takes Top Spot in Forbes' University Rankings". Time. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  7. ^ "Forbes Publishes Rankings of America's Top Colleges: Princeton University is No. 1". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Howard, Caroline. "America's Top Colleges 2013". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Howard, Caroline. "America's Top Colleges 2014". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Howard, Caroline (July 29, 2015). "America's Top Colleges Ranking 2015". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  11. ^ Bravo, Kristina (July 30, 2015). "Pomona College is No. 1 on Forbes list of best in US". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Rand, Jory (July 30, 2015). "Forbes ranks Pomona College as top college in US". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  13. ^ Howard, Caroline. "America's Top Colleges 2016". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2021". Forbes. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  15. ^ SFGATE, Amy Graff (September 8, 2021). "SF Bay Area college is the first public university to top Forbes list". SFGATE. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  16. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". www.forbes.com. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "Here Are America's Top Colleges for 2018". www.forbes.com. Retrieved August 21, 2018.