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Jul 25, 2013 03:17 AM EDT

Forbes’ Top 10 American Colleges

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Science award to Dr. Lucy Shapiro of the Stanford University School of Medicine, California
(Photo : Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Science award to Dr. Lucy Shapiro of the Stanford University School of Medicine, California

Stanford University is the best higher educational institution in U.S. The university claimed the number one spot in Forbes' 6th annual ranking after scoring top marks in retention rates (98 percent) and high graduate starting salaries.

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Stanford, a research and teaching university in Northern California's Silicon Valley, made a tremendous improvement in this years' ranking as it jumped to the top spot from third place last year.

Little known Pomona College captured the second rank. The college which is located about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, offers only undergraduate degrees. The college scored 99 percent marks in retention category.

"We're delighted, of course...a little surprised," said David Oxtoby, Pomona College President. "I think this is an extraordinary education here, and it's nice to see that other people are recognizing it. Being small, we have very close relationships between faculty and students. We have students involved in research from day one, we have small discussion-based classes, we have out-of-classroom opportunities."

The American universities that performed really well in last years' raking slipped to lower ranks in the current ratings.

Princeton University in New Jersey that occupied the No. 1 position last year dropped down the list to number third. Princeton is then followed by Yale University in Connecticut in fourth place and Columbia University in New York City at No. 5.

 

Nobel Prize for Economics winner Professor Thomas Sargent of New York University and visiting professor of economics at Princeton University.
(Photo : Reuters)
Nobel Prize for Economics winner Professor Thomas Sargent of New York University and visiting professor of economics at Princeton University.

 

"We're not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank and SAT scores. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college," Forbes said.

The Forbes ranking of 650 U.S. colleges and universities was calculated exclusively by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). The college decided the rankings based on student satisfaction (22.5 percent), post-graduate success (37.5 percent), student debt (17.5 percent), graduation rate (11.25 percent) and national competitive awards (11.25 percent).

"Picking a college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime," said Editor Michael Noer, Forbes Executive. "Our college rankings were created to inform consumers about the quality of the educational experience and our brand new financial health grades give insight into which schools will be around for the long-haul."

Rated as one of the world's best university, Harvard University was named the eight best university in the country, sliding from No. 6 last year. Williams College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology was placed 9th and 10th in this years' list respectively.

"Flagship state schools offer an excellent education for much lower tuition bills than their average private counterparts. As more students are seeking to hold down debt, public colleges and universities can and will be more selective," Forbes said.

The Top 10 colleges are:

RANK    NAME/STATE

1              Stanford University, CA

2              Pomona College, CA

3              Princeton University, NJ

4              Yale University, CT

5              Columbia University, NY

6              Swarthmore College, PA

7              United States Military Academy, NY

8             Harvard University, MA

9              Williams College, MA

10           Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA

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