Georgia colleges at the top of the class in U.S. News rankings

The entrance to Emory University's Oxford College campus. U.S. News & World Report ranked Emory as the 21st best university in the nation, the highest ranking of any Georgia college or university. ERIC STIRGUS/ERIC.STIRGUS@AJC.COM.

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The entrance to Emory University's Oxford College campus. U.S. News & World Report ranked Emory as the 21st best university in the nation, the highest ranking of any Georgia college or university. ERIC STIRGUS/ERIC.STIRGUS@AJC.COM.

Several Georgia colleges and universities are enjoying national acclaim in closely watched academic rankings.

U.S. News & World Report on Monday released the 37th edition of its annual rankings of the nation’s top colleges and universities. A few Georgia schools were ranked first, or highly, in several categories. The categories included liberal arts, most innovative, best value, top schools for military veterans and the best overall school. The publication used factors such as graduation rates, graduate debt, admissions data and peer assessment to determine the rankings.

The rankings are widely read and used by many students to determine what college they’ll attend. Critics have complained about the publication’s methodology and bias in favor of traditionally prestigious schools.

Here are ten takeaways from the rankings:

  • Emory ranked 21st among national universities, the highest of any Georgia college or university. Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia cracked the top 50, tied for 38th and at 48th, respectively. Five of the top eight national universities were Ivy League schools, with Princeton University ranked again at the top of the list.
  • Georgia Tech was the tenth-ranked national public university. The University of Georgia ranked 16th.
  • Agnes Scott College ranked first in two categories, the most innovative liberal arts college and for first-year student experience.

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Agnes Scott College sits on 100-acres of wooded grounds and is known for its Gothic and Victorian architecture. The Decatur college for women ranked first in two categories of U.S. News & World Report's 2022 college rankings and finished in the top 10 in several other categories. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: AUDRA MELTON

Agnes Scott College sits on 100-acres of wooded grounds and is known for its Gothic and Victorian architecture. The Decatur college for women ranked first in two categories of U.S. News & World Report's 2022 college rankings and finished in the top 10 in several other categories. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: AUDRA MELTON

Combined ShapeCaption
Agnes Scott College sits on 100-acres of wooded grounds and is known for its Gothic and Victorian architecture. The Decatur college for women ranked first in two categories of U.S. News & World Report's 2022 college rankings and finished in the top 10 in several other categories. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: AUDRA MELTON

Credit: AUDRA MELTON

  • Berry College was ranked as the best value regional university in the South. Its annual cost is about $54,450 with discounts totaling half of the cost.
  • Spelman College, for the 15th consecutive year, was ranked as the nation’s best historically Black college and university. Morehouse College was tied with Hampton and Tuskegee universities for fourth. Clark Atlanta University tied with Jackson State University in Mississippi for 18th on the list.
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Spelman College holds commencement for the class of 2020 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sunday, May 16, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Spelman as being the nation's best historically Black college and university and having the top liberal arts program in Georgia. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Spelman College holds commencement for the class of 2020 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sunday, May 16, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Spelman as being the nation's best historically Black college and university and having the top liberal arts program in Georgia. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

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Spelman College holds commencement for the class of 2020 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sunday, May 16, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Spelman as being the nation's best historically Black college and university and having the top liberal arts program in Georgia. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

  • Georgia State and Georgia Tech ranked second and fourth, respectively, as the most innovative national universities.
  • Emory was tied with the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as the nation’s fourth best undergraduate nursing program, a new category.
  • Georgia Tech tied for 16th with three other schools among national universities in the best college for military veterans rankings. The University of North Georgia was the highest-ranked regional public Georgia university in the South.
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U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Garrett Cathcart interacts with students while teaching Military Science 101 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Cathcart is an assistant professor at the school, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the nation's top colleges for veterans. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Garrett Cathcart interacts with students while teaching Military Science 101 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Cathcart is an assistant professor at the school, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the nation's top colleges for veterans. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

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U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Garrett Cathcart interacts with students while teaching Military Science 101 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Cathcart is an assistant professor at the school, which was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the nation's top colleges for veterans. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

  • Spelman was 54th among national liberal arts schools, the highest ranking of any Georgia college or university. Agnes Scott was 66th, second among Georgia schools.
  • Agnes Scott had the fourth highest-ranked study abroad program.