UNITED STATES—On Monday, September 14, U.S. News released the “2021 Best National University Rankings” based on the data-based research among 1,452 bachelor’s degree-granting colleges in the U.S.

U.S. News used the latest statistics and 17 different factors to measure the institutions including graduation and retention rates, social mobility, graduation rate performance, undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources for 2019-2020 academic year, student selectivity for the fall 2019 entering class, financial resources per student, average alumni giving rate, and graduate indebtedness.

National colleges rankings focus on universities, which offer a full range of undergraduate majors and higher education programs. U.S. News also creates different rankings, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities, and regional colleges, to meet students’ demands.

U.S. News has been using the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s Basic Classification system since 1983 when the first college rankings were published. For the latest edition, U.S. News added new measures, such as student debt, social mobility, and test-blind admissions policies.

“To make room, U.S. News gave less weight in the rankings to SAT/ACT scores, high school class standing and alumni giving rates,” stated U.S. News. “For the 2021 edition, U.S. News reduced the weight of SAT/ACT standardized tests to 5% (7.75% previously) toward schools’ overall scores. The weight of alumni giving was reduced to 3% (5% previously) toward each school’s overall rank.”

For 2020, U.S. News added “graduate indebtedness total” and “graduate indebtedness proportion” as new indicators to the rankings. The new “graduate indebtedness rank” describes fewer students graduate with having massive debt in higher-ranked schools.

Another new function lets students create accounts on U.S. News website and access to their College Admissions Calculator. Users can compare their high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores with other students, who were reportedly accepted, waitlisted, and rejected at different universities. Users can also check reviews by students, faculty and alumni and Q&A sections to understand campus activities and culture.

Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News mentioned, “The pandemic has affected students across the country, canceling commencement ceremonies and switching classes from in-person to remote. Whether students have slightly altered their college plans or changed them entirely it remains our mission to continue providing students and their families with the tools they need to help find the right school for them.”

A list of the top 30 universities U.S. News selected are below:

1. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

2. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

3. Columbia University (New York, NY)

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

4. Yale University (New Haven, CT)

6. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

6. University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

8. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

9. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

9. Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

9. Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

12. Duke University (Durham, NC)

13. Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)

14. Brown University (Providence, RI)

14. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

16. Rice University (Houston, TX)

16. Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

18. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

19. University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN)

20. University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

21. Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

22. University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

23. Georgetown University (Washington, DC)

24. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

24. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

26. Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

26. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

28. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)

28. Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

30. New York University (New York, NY)

30. Tufts University (Medford, MA)

30. University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)

30. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)