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Latest U.S. News rankings place Berkeley, again, at the top of the publics

| 21 August 2009

In U.S. News & World Report's newest rankings of U.S. undergraduate education, UC Berkeley is named the number-one public university for the tenth time in as many years. The magazine's 2010 guide to "America's Best Colleges," released yesterday, ranked Berkeley 21st among 262 public and private "national universities" offering doctoral degrees. (The campus has placed either 20th or 21st each year for the past decade.)

U.S. News & World Report logopU.S. News & World Report guide

Harvard and Princeton topped the list. Yale ranked third, and four private schools — Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania — tied for fourth. Among public institutions, UCLA and the University of Virginia were the next highest ranked after Berkeley, tying for 24th nationally.

On academic reputation, only five universities — Harvard, Princton, Yale, MIT, and Stanford — received a higher score than UC Berkeley, which received a 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5. There was no change in Berkeley's student-selectivity rank, 14th. The campus saw improved marks in graduation and retention (up 1 to 24th), financial resources (up 1 to 43rd), and alumni satisfaction (up 5 to 113th). Faculty resources dropped two positions to 35th.

U.S. News used seven measures to calculate its rankings: peer assessment (accounting for 25% of a school's overall score), faculty resources (20%), graduation and retention (20%), student selectivity (15%), financial resources (10%), graduation-rate performance (5%), and alumni giving rate (5%).

Berkeley ranked second nationally, after UCLA, in the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (for students from low-income families). At 32 percent, Berkeley's proportion was nearly twice that of the next institution listed, which was Columbia with 17%. In a measure of racial diversity, Berkeley was among the top 18 nationally, along with three other UC campuses — Riverside, Los Angeles, and Davis. 

The U.S. News ranking underscored Berkeley's strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. In a peer opinion survey of which schools "do the best job of teaching undergraduates," it ranked among the 19 best. Similarly, it was among the schools offering the best undergraduate research opportunities, along with UCLA and UC Irvine.

The 2010 guide also evaluated two undergraduate offerings — business and engineering — using a peer assessment survey sent this spring. Among business programs, Berkeley improved its rank from third to second nationally (tied with MIT and behind the University of Pennsylvania). For engineering, Berkeley remained in second place, tied with Stanford and just behind MIT.

This year, six University of California campuses — Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara, and Irvine — ranked in the top 50 schools nationally.

Complete details on the rankings and methodologies are online at the U.S. News & World Report website.