August 14, 2008

Forbes.Com Inaugurates First Annual Ranking of America’s Best Colleges

Princeton University tops's first annual ranking of America's Best Colleges, available at Caltech, Harvard, Swarthmore and Williams round out the top five.

The report, in conjunction with Dr. Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University, and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), ranks 569 undergraduate colleges and universities based on the quality of the education they provide and how much their students achieve.

Data was gathered from a variety of sources, covering factors such as instructor evaluations, notable alumni and faculty achievements, student debt at graduation and the percent of students graduating in four years. The ranking relies entirely on outside databases and surveys rather than on the involvement or cooperation of the colleges. Findings include:

-- Generally, big state schools performed poorly, while small liberal arts schools shined

-- Several relatively unknown schools did surprisingly well

-- Service academies made a strong showing

-- Some schools may be living off their reputations

According to Executive Editor Michael Noer, "Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions - and investments - an American family can make, and we're pleased to be the first to offer a ranking that reflects, in a very real way, the quality and cost of an undergraduate education at such a wide range of U.S. colleges and universities."

The rankings are broken down by Top 50 U.S. Colleges, Top Private Colleges, Top Public Colleges and the Complete College Ranking. For the complete rankings, more detailed explanation of methodology and much more, visit:

About (, home page for the world's business leaders and the No. 1 business news source in the world, is among the most trusted resources for senior business executives, providing them the real-time reporting, uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and community they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning. Throughout the business day publishes more than 4,000 articles, delivering the best of Forbes' journalism and that of its selected partners with all the immediacy, depth and interactivity that the Web allows. is part of Forbes Digital, a division of Forbes Media LLC. and affiliated properties -,,,, and the Business and Finance Blog Network - together reach 35 million business decision makers each month.