Forbes Releases Annual Ranking of America's Top Colleges

Harvard University Remains in the Top Spot for Third Consecutive Year

#TopColleges

NEW YORK (August 15, 2019) – Forbes today released its 12th annual ranking of America’s Top Colleges. Harvard University remains in the top spot for the third consecutive year. Yale University jumped up a spot to reclaim the No. 2 position, unseating Stanford University, which fell to No. 3. Rounding out the top five are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (No. 4) and Princeton University (No. 5). 

“Forbes’ college ranking is distinguished by its consumer-centric approach,” said Caroline Howard, Director of Editorial Operations, Forbes. “The evaluation of the 650 undergraduate institutions is based exclusively on the quality of the education they provide, the experiences of the students and their post-graduate success and financial well-being.”

The Northeast again dominates the top of this list, calling itself home to eight colleges of the Top ten, followed by two institutions on the West Coast. Nine of the top 20 colleges are in the Northeast. Five new institutions debuted in the Top 100 barrier this year, with Worcester Polytechnic Institute making the largest jump from No. 120 in 2018 to No. 93 this year.

While cost of education is an ongoing topic of conversation in the U.S., for the Top Colleges ranking, Forbes took into consideration the financial well-being of students after graduation. The average total cost of all schools is $45,000 annually. On average, each college offers an average institutional grant in the amount of $17,500.

Methodology: Now in its 12th year, the FORBES Top Colleges ranking has always placed its focus solely on the direct benefits a college or university provides its students. Favoring output over input, Forbes eschews common metrics like acceptance rate, endowment and freshmen SAT scores – numbers that say far more about a school’s “prestige” than its actual effectiveness – and instead favors variables like student debt, alumni salary, graduation rate and student satisfaction. The ROI-centric logic and the sources (Dept of Education, PayScale, Niche, National Science Foundation, and our proprietary Leader’s List) behind this year’s ranking are no different, but part of the methodology and some of the data sources have been reexamined and revamped to better align this list with what FORBES values most: entrepreneurship, success, impact and the consumer experience.

For the full list and more, visit: www.forbes.com/top-colleges

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