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College Roundup: The Best of 2013

U.S. News & World Report released annual school rankings today

By Alyssa Oursler, InvestorPlace Contributor

Higher-ed is the talk of the town these days, as record levels of student debt and high unemployment, especially for young adults, raise the question of whether or not college is actually worth it.

One study, for example, shows that the most common jobs for members of Generation Y are in retail — even after graduation. Two of the most common Gen Y jobs are floor clerk and clothing sales associate, and over half of the former and 80% of the latter indicated having a bachelor’s degree on the survey.

Still, for many, college is a necessary and desired credential. And while college may not always seem to pay off, sometimes the key is simply picking the right school.

And today, U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings to help prospective students do just that. Each year, it compiles countless clear-cut lists based on various criteria to tell students everything from which are the top universities to which schools are the best value to which schools leave students with the most debt … and much more.

Have a look at some of the highlights of the report:

Top National Universities

Large institutions that focus on research and grant bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Princeton University (tied for first)
  3. Yale University
  4. Columbia University
  5. University of Chicago (tied for fourth)
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. Stanford University (tied for sixth)
  8. Duke University
  9. University of Pennsylvania  (tied for eighth)
  10. California Institute of Technology

For this full list, click here.

Top National Liberal Arts Colleges

Colleges that emphasize undergraduate education and grant at least half their degrees in liberal arts majors such as philosophy, English, and history.

  1. Williams College
  2. Amherst College
  3. Swarthmore College
  4. Middlebury College
  5. Pomona College (tied for fourth)
  6. Bowdoin College
  7. Wellesley College (tied for sixth)
  8. Carleton College
  9. Haverford College
  10. Claremont McKenna College

For this full list, click here.

Top Regional Universities

Schools that offer many undergraduate degrees, some master’s, and few doctoral programs.


  1. Villanova University
  2. Fairfield University
  3. Loyola University Marlyand


  1. Creighton University
  2. Butler University
  3. Drake University


  1. Rollins College
  2. Elon University
  3. Stetson University


  1. Trinity University
  2. Santa Clara University
  3. Loyola Marymount University

For this full list, click here.

Top Regional Colleges

Colleges that focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines.


  1. Cooper Union
  2. United States Coast Guard Academy
  3. United States Merchant Marine Academy


  1. Taylor University
  2. Ohio Northern University
  3. Augustana College


  1. High Point University
  2. John Brown University
  3. Meredith College


  1. Carroll College
  2. California Maritime Academy
  3. Texas Lutheran University

For this full list, click here.

Most Students Receiving Merit Aid

Percentage who “had no financial need and who were awarded institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid” excluding athletic awards and tuition benefits.

  1. Belhaven University — 88%
  2. Newbury College — 82%
  3. Ferrum College — 79%
  4. Cooper Union — 68%
  5. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering — 62%

For this full list, click here.

Colleges Where Students Graduate With the Most Debt

Based on average loan burdens for the graduating class of 2011.

  1. La Sierra University — $54, 885
  2. Catawba College — $50,193
  3. Clark Atlanta University — $47,066
  4. Lawrence Technological University — $46,677
  5. John C. Smith University — $46,673

For this full list, click here.

Top Public Schools

Schools operated under the supervision of state governments and funded, in part, by tax dollars and subsidies from the state.

  1. University of California-Berkeley
  2. University of California-Los Angeles
  3. University of Virginia
  4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  5. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

For this full list, click here.

Best Value Schools

Schools ranked in the top half of their categories that have the highest quality
programs for the lowest cost.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Yale University
  3. Princeton University
  4. Stanford University
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For this full list, click here.

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