The University of Georgia moved up three spots in the annual U.S. News & World Report college rankings. It  earned the highest ranking in its history, sharing the #13 slot in top public universities with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

University of Georgia jumps in national ranking, but Georgia Tech still ahead.

U.S. News & World Report released its 2019 Best Colleges today, ranking more than 1,800 schools across the country.  Georgia Tech was ranked the 8th best national public university in the country, tied with the University of Florida. Tech ranks #35 among all national universities, including private and public. Tech was also #4 in most innovative schools.

Nipping at its heels is the University of Georgia, which jumped three spots and earned the highest ranking in its history, sharing the #13 slot in top publics with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. UGA ranked 46th among national universities.

The UGA trendline over the last few years has been positive; Last year, the University of Georgia ranked 16th among public campuses and 54th among all national universities. Georgia Tech slipped this year, dropping from 7th last year among public universities to 8th. It also fell one spot in national overall rankings, from #34 to #35. 

Still, with Emory ranked #21 in national universities, Georgia is now home to three campuses among the top 50 national public and private universities -- Emory, Georgia Tech and UGA.

“The University of Georgia is reaching new heights of excellence in virtually every measure, and I am pleased that national recognition of the quality of our academic programs is on the rise,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I want to commend our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends for their hard work and dedication in making the University of Georgia, the birthplace of public higher education in America, one of the very best public universities in the nation.”

Georgia State University ranked 100th in top public colleges and #187 in all national universities. GSU is ranked second in both undergraduate teaching and innovation.

The magazine ranked Spelman College first among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Morehouse College tied for third and Clark Atlanta University tied for 15th.

Both Spelman and Agnes Scott moved up 10 spots in the national liberal arts college rankings, sharing the #61 spot last year and now tying again this year at #51.  Agnes Scott also was first in most innovative and second in undergraduate teaching. Georgia College ranked 5th in undergraduate teaching. 

Here are some of the highlights from the magazine:

For the first time, the University of California—Los Angeles is the sole No. 1 Top Public School among National Universities, having tied for first in the 2018 ranking. The California university system improved in the rankings because of their performance graduating high proportions of low-income students – new this year in the Best Colleges methodology.

Five of the top 10 schools on the top publics list belong to California schools. The University of California—Santa Barbara moved up three spots to a tie at No. 5 on this list, and the University of California—Irvine also improved, rising from a tie at No. 9 to No. 7. Among the overall Best National Universities, Princeton University is No. 1 for the eighth straight year, and Williams College maintains its 16-year streak as the Best National Liberal Arts College.

Focusing on academic excellence, the Best Colleges rankings evaluate schools on hundreds of data points using up to 16 measures of academic quality. U.S. News updated the Best Colleges methodology to further emphasize student outcomes, which hold the most weight at 35 percent – up from 30 percent last year. Through this update, U.S. News is measuring how well schools support low-income students through graduation. 

Beyond the overall rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges offers: Rankings, lists and additional data: Students can research Regional Universities and Regional Colleges, the Best Value SchoolsHistorically Black Colleges and UniversitiesMost Innovative Schools and a list of the A-plus Schools for B Students. Additional data include schools with the ­­­most Economic Diversity and Campus Ethnic Diversity, as well as the Most International Students. For students with specific career paths in mind, U.S. News ranks the top schools in undergraduate engineering and business.

2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges

National Universities – Top 5
1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Columbia University (NY) (tie)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)
3. University of Chicago (tie)
3. Yale University (CT) (tie)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5
1. Williams College (MA)
2. Amherst College (MA)
3. Swarthmore College (PA) (tie)
3. Wellesley College (MA) (tie)
5. Bowdoin College (ME) (tie)
5. Carleton College (MN) (tie)
5. Middlebury College (VT) (tie)
5. Pomona College (CA) (tie)

Top Public Schools

National Universities – Top 5
1. University of California—Los Angeles
2. University of California—Berkeley
3. University of Virginia
4. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
5. University of California—Santa Barbara (tie)
5. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (tie)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5
1. United States Military Academy (NY)
2. United States Naval Academy (MD)
3. United States Air Force Academy (CO)
4. Virginia Military Institute
5. New College of Florida

Best Value Schools

National Universities – Top 5
1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. Yale University (CT)
5. Stanford University (CA)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 5
1. Williams College (MA)
2. Pomona College (CA)
3. Amherst College (MA)
4. Swarthmore College (PA)
5. Principia College (IL)


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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.