US NEWS Ranking

U.S. News Best Colleges 2019

The goal of the U.S. New’s Best Colleges Ranking is to make it easier for future students to compare academic institutions in the United States. In order to achieve better comparability, the U.S. News team differentiates between universities in four categories:

In addition, the “Regional Universities” and “Regional Colleges” are again divided into the following subcategories: “North”, “South”, “Midwest” and “West”. More detailed explanations of the categories can be found in the “Glossary“.

U.S. News followed the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s Basic Classification System.

Due to the fact that the “National Universities” offer the widest range of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs and also offer the best perspectives for a later scientific career due to their research focus, only the ranking of the “National Universities” is presented below.

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US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
1Princeton University$47,1405,394
2Harvard University$50,4206,766
3Columbia University$59,4306,162
3Massachusetts Institute of Technology$51,8324,547
3University of Chicago$57,0066,264
3Yale University$53,4305,746
7Stanford University$51,3547,062
8Duke University$55,9606,692
8University of Pennsylvania$55,58410,033
10Johns Hopkins University$53,7406,109
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
10Northwestern University$54,5678,278
12California Institute of Technology$52,362961,000
12Dartmouth College$55,0354,410
14Brown University$55,6566,988
14Vanderbilt University$49,8166,885
16Cornell University$55,18814,907
16Rice University$47,3504,001
18University of Notre Dame$53,3918,576
19University of California-Los Angeles$41,29431,002
19Washington University in St. Louis$53,3997,675
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
21Emory University$51,3066,937
22Georgetown University$54,1047,463
22University of California-Berkeley$43,23230,574
22University of Southern California$56,22519,170
25Carnegie Mellon University$55,4656,896
25University of Virginia$48,89116,655
27Tufts University$56,3825,541
27University of Michigan-Ann Arbor$49,35029,821
27Wake Forest University$53,3225,102
30New York University$51,82826,417
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
30University of California-Santa Barbara$42,48622,186
30University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill$35,16918,862
33University of California-Irvine$43,530 29,307
33University of Rochester$53,9266,546
35Brandeis University$55,3953,635
35Georgia Institute of Technology$33,02015,573
35University of Florida$28,65835,247
38Boston College$55,4649,358
38College of William and Mary$44,7016,285
38University of California-Davis$43,45830,145
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
41University of California-San Diego$42,07428,587
42Boston University$53,94818,080
42Case Western Reserve University$49,0425,150
44Northeastern University$51,38713,825
44Tulane University$54,8206,571
46Pepperdine University$53,9323,604
46University of Georgia$30,40428,848
46University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign$32,56833,955
49Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute$53,8806,366
49University of Texas-Austin$37,48040,492
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
49University of Wisconsin-Madison$36,80532,196
49Villanova University$53,4586,966
53Lehigh University$52,9305,075
53Syracuse University$51,85315,252
53University of Miami$50,22610,832
56Ohio State University-Columbus$30,74245,946
56Purdue University-West Lafayette$28,80431,006
56Rutgers University-New Brunswick$31,28235,641
59Pennsylvania State University-University Park$34,85840,835
59Southern Methodist University$54,4936,452
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
59University of Washington$36,89831,331
59Worcester Polytechnic Institute$50,5304,435
63George Washington University$55,23011,999
63University of Connecticut$38,09819,241
63University of Maryland-College Park$35,21629,868
66Brigham Young University-Provo$5,62031,233
66Clark University$45,7302,240
66Clemson University$36,72419,402
66Texas A&M University-College Station$36,63653,065
70Florida State University$21,67333,008
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
70Fordham University$52,2489,599
70Stevens Institute of Technology$52,2022,978
70University of California-Santa Cruz$41,96317,577
70University of Massachusetts-Amherst$34,57023,388
70University of Pittsburgh$32,05219,326
76University of Minnesota-Twin Cities$30,37135,433
76Virginia Tech$31,30427,193
78American University$48,4598,123
78Baylor University$45,54214,316
80Binghamton University-SUNY$24,48813,728
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
80Colorado School of Mines$38,5844,794
80North Carolina State University-Raleigh$28,44424,150
80Stony Brook University-SUNY$26,93417,364
80Texas Christian University$46,9509,011
85Yeshiva University$43,5002,728
85Michigan State University$39,75038,996
85University of California--Riverside$42,87920,069
85University of San Diego$49,3585,774
89Howard University$26,7566,354
89Indiana University--Bloomington$35,45633,429
US RankUniversityTuition and FeesEnrollment
89Loyola University Chicago$44,04811,420
89Marquette University$41,8708,335
89University at Buffalo--SUNY$27,75821,020
89University of Delaware$34,31018,946
89University of Iowa$30,60924,503
96Illinois Institute of Technology$47,6462,900
96Miami University--Oxford$33,57717,147
96University of Colorado--Boulder$37,28829,091
96University of Denver$50,5565,765
96University of San Francisco$48,0666,847


To create the ranking, only quantitative and qualitatively measurable key figures are recorded and evaluated. These indicators are recognised by international experts as reliable quality criteria in academic education.

The 16 indicators are weighted with a factor according to their significance. For the sake of simplicity, the indicators are grouped into the following five categories.

  • Outcomes
  • Faculty resources,
  • Expert opinion,
  • Financial resources,
  • Students excellence,
  • Alumni Giving

The individual key figures and their weighting are explained below.


1.Outcomes (35 percent)

The greatest success for any university is that its students complete the program with an academic title. In order to give this assignment a corresponding value, the success of the students with a weighting factor of 35 percent has a considerable influence on the ranking result of a university.

The success of the students is measured and evaluated with the help of the following partial key indicators:

  • “Social mobility” (5 percent),
  • “Graduation and Retention” (22 percent)
  • “Graduation rate performance” (8 percent)


“Social mobility” (5 percent):

This indicator reflects the number of graduates who received a state-funded Pell scholarship during their studies.

The “Social mobility” indicator is made up of two factors, each weighted at 2.5 percent.

  • The first factor puts the absolute number of graduates with a “Pell scholarship” in relation to graduates with a “Pell scholarship” from other universities.
  • The second factor compares the number of graduates with and without a “Pell Scholarship” from a university who have successfully completed their studies within six years.

For both factors, a higher “Pell Grant completion rate” performsbetter than a lower one.


“Graduation and Retention” (22 percent)

It is obvious that universities that have a higher proportion of first-semester students who continue their studies in the second year will probably provide the service and support that students need to successfully complete their studies.

The indicator “Graduation and Retention” thus consists of the following two components.

  • The average six-year graduation rate It indicates the proportion of a cohort of students who have completed their studies in six or fewer years. (Average of all institutions in 2019 = 17.6 percent)
  • The average first-year retention rate It indicates the proportion of first semesters that have returned to the university in the following academic year. (Average of all institutions in 2019 = 4.4 percent)

When calculating the indicator “Graduation and Retention”, which amounts to 22 percent of a university’s overall result, the “six-year graduation rate” (17.6 percent) is weighted fourfold compared tothe “first-year retention rate” (4.4 percent).


“Graduation rate performance” (8 percent)

The “Graduation rate performance” indicator is calculated by the U.S. News team specifically for ranking purposes and compares the forecast with the actual “six-year graduation rate”.


2. Faculty Resources (20 percent)

If a university has a high focus on the quality of teaching and accordingly employs highly qualified teaching staff, the probability of students successfully completing their studies increases. In order to determine the use of resources and the quality of teaching, five indicators are analysed in the U.S. News Rankings. Due to their different influence on the success of the students, all indicators are weighted with the following factors.

  • “Class size” (8 percent)
  • “Faculty salary” (7 percent),
  • “Proportion of full-time teachers with the highest academic title” (3 percent),
  • “student-faculty ratio” (1 percent),
  • “Proportion of full-time teaching staff” (1 percent)

To determine the level of salaries, the average salary level of an institution is adjusted for regional differences in the cost of living. For this purpose, the index of the consulting firm Runzheimer International is used.


3. Expert Opinion (20 percent)

People who work in the field of academic education have a high level of expertise and a wealth of experience in this field due to daily contact points. They can judge, for example, a university’ s success in putting innovative teaching and learning concepts into practice, or if a university has problems obtaining the necessary state accreditation.

In order that this perspective can also be justified, the assessment of quality from an expert’s point of view is considered under the indicator “expert assessment”.

To determine thisindicator, scientists, presidents, provosts and deans of studies were asked to assess the quality of the “peer institutions” they are familiar with. In addition, almost 24,400 consultants at public and private grammar schools from all 50 federal states were surveyed.


4. Finacial Resources (10 percent)

As the success of an individual student also depends heavily on whether he or she can put together the right courses for him or her and whether he or she can make use of the services necessary for his or her weaknesses, U.S. News also measures the financial resources of the ranked universities.

The average expenses per student for teaching, research and student support are recorded.

Infrastructural expenses such as for sports facilities, student accommodation and hospitals are not taken into account.


5. Student Excellence (10 percent)

A teaching and learning atmosphere is created to a large extent by the quality of the students themselves. If most students at a university are admitted with a very good high school diploma, they will form a very homogeneous and performance-oriented study group and the academic level will also be at a high level.

In order to determine the “Student Excellence” indicator, the admission values from standardised tests are analysed. The SAT scores used in this year’s rankings and published on refer to the new SAT test, which has been carried out since March 2016.

Universities that do not publish their admission scores or communicate only incompletely are downgraded in the U.S. News Rankings using a factor that has been evaluated for many years.


6. Alumni-Giving (5 percent)

The indicator “Alumni giving” shows the proportion of alumni who donate annually to the former university. From this a certain degree of satisfaction and commitment of the alumni can be derived with regard to their “alma marta”.

Evaluated is the average percentage of all living alumni with a Bachelor’s degree who donated to their university in the years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.


Data sources

92 percent of the data required to create the rankings is made available to U.S. News by the universities themselves.

In order to check the quality of this data, U.S. News compares it with data from previous years and checks it for plausibility.

For the current rankings, data from 1,800 accredited institutions were collected, of which 1,400 were analyzed and evaluated.


Non-listed schools

Within the lists there are educational institutions that are classified as “unranked”. In most cases this is due to one of the following two points.

The institution belongs to a Carnegie classification that U.S. News has not included in its rankings, such as highly specialized universities of arts, business and technology, or uses neither SAT nor ACT scores to select students within its admissions process.


For more in-depth information about the U.S. News Best Colleges, please visit the U.S. News website:

For more in-depth information about QS Stars, visit the QS Intelligence Unit website.