U.S. News Ranks MIT FifthBy Josh Hartmann
Harvard University and Williams College once again laid claim to the top positions in U.S. News & World Report's annual study of American colleges. MIT was named the fifth best national university.
The magazine put Harvard at the top of 204 national universities. Williams ranked first among 140 liberal arts schools.
Topping the national university list below Harvard were Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. MIT tied with California Institute of Technology for the fifth spot. Dartmouth, Duke, the University of Chicago, and Columbia rounded out the top 10.
To determine a school's rank, the magazine used reputation scores from college officials combined with statistics provided by the schools, including selectivity of the admissions process, faculty salaries, per student expenditures, and the level of student satisfaction, as measured by the percentage of students who graduate within five years of matriculation.
Among national liberal arts schools, Williams led Amherst, Swarthmore, Wellesley, Pomona, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Haverford, and Smith.
U.S. News also asked over 2,500 college officials whether there are too many colleges in America; 47 percent thought there are.
The officials were primarily college presidents, deans of academic affairs, and admissions directors, a majority of whom bemoaned the financial challenges facing their schools. Of the public university presidents, 63 percent said their institutions were currently running a budget deficit; one-third of private university presidents reported budget shortfalls.
The poll was sent to 4,081 academic officials at 1,373 four-year colleges and universities. A record 62 percent -- 2,527 officials -- responded.