UNC-Chapel Hill ranks fifth among the nation’s best public universities for the 13th consecutive year, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The rankings appear in the 2014 “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook and at www.usnews.com.
Among national public universities, UC-Berkeley ranked first, followed by UCLA and Virginia (tied for second), Michigan (fourth) and UNC (fifth); the same order as for the past two years.
Among both national public and private universities, UNC ranked 30th overall, the same as last year. Other public schools were between tied for 20th (Berkeley) and 28th (Michigan). Among the top five public schools, overall composite scores remained the same at Berkeley (79) and Michigan (74) and went down one point at UCLA and Virginia (76), followed by UNC (72).
U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality, weighted as follows: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), assessment by peers and counselors (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (difference between actual and predicted graduation rates, 7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent).
Other U.S. News rankings results for UNC-Chapel Hill included the following:
• First among national public universities for the ninth consecutive year and 17th overall in “Great Schools, Great Prices,” based on academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student receiving the average level of need-based financial aid in 2012-2013. Forty-two percent of UNC undergraduates received need-based aid in 2012. Carolina meets 100 percent of the documented need of undergraduates qualifying for need-based aid who apply on time.
• Second among public schools and seventh overall for least debt, with 35 percent of students graduating with debt and an average amount of $16,983.
• A 97 percent average first-year retention rate for the fifth consecutive year.
• An 89 percent average six-year graduation rate, 3 percentage points better than U.S. News predicted. (UNC’s four-year rate graduation is nearly 81 percent.)
• Thirteen percent of course sections enrolled 50 or more students, holding at the same number as last year. That remains the lowest rate among the other top publics for the sixth year in a row. Thirty-seven percent of UNC’s course sections enrolled fewer than 20 students, up from 33 percent. Berkeley led the top publics at 63 percent.