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U.S. News 2019 Best College Rankings: Where Local Universities Placed

Dying to see how your favorite schools stack up? The lists include not just the best colleges, but also the most innovative and cost-beneficial schools.


2019 best college rankings

L to R: Buildings at Penn, Swarthmore and Villanova, all featured in the U.S. News 2019 Best College Rankings

Some of us follow college rankings religiously. Others, not so much.

For those who fall into the former category (or those who can’t help but sneak a peak): U.S. News & World Report, the ultimate educational institution ranker, has just released its 2019 Best College rankings.

Of course, a number of local universities and colleges made the rankings. Here are some notable takeaways:

  • The University of Pennsylvania maintained its ranking among the top 10 U.S. universities. The school tied with Duke University for 8th — the same place as 2018 (and 2017).
  • Penn took first place in the list’s business programs category. Within that field, the school’s finance and real estate programs both ranked no. 1, while its marketing program came in second behind the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (Wharton secured the top spot in the U.S. News Best Business Schools category — a different list — until last year, when Harvard and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business tied for first, and Wharton took second.)
  • Villanova ranked 49th among the best U.S. universities. The school remained in the top 50 (it first made the cut in 2017) but was bumped back a few spots from its ranking of 46th in 2018.
    • Otherwise, Carnegie Mellon ranked 25th, while Lehigh University came in 53rd, Penn State University Park secured 59th and the University of Pittsburgh ranked 70th. Closer to Philly, Drexel University took 102nd, and Temple University followed at 106th.
  • As far as top liberal arts colleges, Swarthmore maintained its spot at 3rd. Haverford came in 11th. Bryn Mawr College jumped to 27th, up from 32nd in 2018. Bucknell University, Franklin and Marshall College, and Lafayette College all tied for 36th. Gettysburg secured 49th.

The U.S. News report also ranked regional colleges and public schools, as well as the most “innovative” schools and those that offer the “best value.”

Regional school rankings:

  • St. Joseph’s University tied with Simmons University for 12th.
  • Thomas Jefferson University rose to 15th.
  • La Salle took 35th.

Public school rankings:

  • Penn State secured 20th.
  • University of Pittsburgh came in 26th
  • Temple University took 46th.

You’re probably wondering how U.S. News calculated the most “innovative” and “best value” schools …

When it came to “best value,” the 2019 Best College rankings considered the school’s academic quality (per the 2018 Best Colleges ranking) and the 2017–2018 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. Low-cost schools with high-quality programs ranked best.

According to that method, here’s how our local universities ranked:

  • Penn ranked 12th.
  • Lehigh took 27th.
  • Carnegie Mellon came in 34th.
  • Duquesne University in Pittsburgh took 40th.
  • Villanova took 48th.
  • Drexel took 67th.
  • Temple came in 93rd.
  • Penn State University Park came in 131st.

To find the most “innovative” schools for the 2019 Best College rankings, U.S. News asked top college officials to identify institutions that are making the most “innovative improvements” in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, or facilities, then selected the schools that received the most nominations. That includes:

  • Carnie Mellon at 7th.
  • Drexel at 13th.
  • Penn at 32nd.
  • Penn State University Park and the University of Pittsburgh tied for 55th.

For more information on the U.S. News 2019 Best College rankings, including information on how universities are ranked, visit the organization’s website.