Forbes ranks U.Va. nation's second best public university

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CHARLOTTESVILLE (WSLS 10) - Forbes named University of Virginia second among public schools on its annual list of America's top colleges, released Wednesday. U.Va. came in 36 overall.

Pomona College, followed by Williams College and Stanford University, earned the top overall ranking. Excluding military academies, the University of California Berkeley earned the top spot among public institutions, followed by U.Va. and the College of William and Mary.

The list, made up of public and private institutions, ranks schools on an overall scale, as well as in categories such as public, private, research and geography. In total, 650 institutions were considered.

U.Va. was up four spots from number 40 in 2015. The school ranked number 20 among research universities and number 5 among universities in the south. Also on the overall winner list are Washington and Lee University at number 29, College of William & Mary at number 39, Virginia Tech at number 122, Virginia Military Institute at number 131, Sweet Briar College at number 285, Hollins University at number 416 and Roanoke College at number 455. It total, 21 Virginia institutions made the list.

Forbes considered five main characteristics when creating the list.

  • Post-graduate success, based on alumni salary and appearances on various leadership rankings
  • Student satisfaction, based on transfer rates, online faculty ratings and social media surveys
  • Student debt, based on average federal student loan debt, student loan default rates and percentage of students taking federal loans
  • Graduation rate, based on how many students complete their degree in four years
  • Academic success, based on the number of prestigious scholarships and fellowships won by students

The rankings were generated in partnership with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

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