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Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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U.S. publications recognize Princeton as a top university

The latest college ranking conducted by U.S. News & World Report has listed Princeton University as the top school for undergraduate students, while separate annual rankings by Forbes.com and other similar lists also continue to recognize Princeton as a premier university for its quality of education and commitment to generous financial aid.

The University was ranked No. 1 in the Best National Universities category in "U.S. News 2010 America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, was ranked No. 2 in "America's Best Colleges" by Forbes.com and was listed in the Top 10 in multiple categories in the Princeton Review. U.S. News placed Princeton second for a commitment to teaching and third among national universities for best value.

"The University appreciates the recognition of our continued commitment to financial aid, especially in an economic climate when financial considerations are increasingly important to families," Princeton officials said. "However, it's critical to note that it's impossible for formulaic rankings to accurately represent the distinctive characteristics of an institution, or what an individual college can offer to a potential student. For example, this year we broadened the international opportunities available to our students by inaugurating a yearlong, international public service initiative known as the Bridge Year Program for admitted students, providing a unique growth experience before they begin their freshman year. Princeton also further demonstrated its commitment to financial aid by increasing our aid budget by 14 percent to meet the growing needs of families."

In the second year of the ranking by Forbes magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, the basis for Princeton's ranking is not outlined, but the magazine states that surveys of students' academic and college experience, measures of postgraduate success, and data averaging student debt at graduation were among the criteria used to evaluate institutions.

In a ranking released last month by the Princeton Review education service, the University ranked No. 2 for best library facilities, seventh for "most beautiful campus" and eighth in the category of "students happy with financial aid." The Princeton Review is a private firm not affiliated with the University, and ranked schools in its 2010 "The Best 371 Colleges" guide based on student survey responses to various elements of campus life.

In earlier rankings, Princeton ranked No. 3 in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the 100 Best Values in Private Colleges. Princeton also receives favorable ratings annually from various organizations in such areas as sustainability; campus climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students; academic and social experience for Latino students; and being a top work environment for individuals pursuing careers in academia.

The U.S. News rankings recognize that the University continues to serve as a model for efforts to make education more affordable. Princeton led the way in launching sweeping financial aid initiatives, such as its 2001 elimination of loans from the financial aid package for all undergraduates, allowing students to graduate debt-free. The end of early admission in 2008 also is among the University's efforts that have helped make Princeton more accessible to a broader pool of applicants.

The University's comprehensive aid plan helps moderate- to upper-middle-income families afford the cost of college, with substantial grants that cover up to the full cost of attending Princeton. An estimated 58 percent of Princeton's undergraduate student body is on financial aid, and 59 percent of the incoming class of 2013 will receive aid grants averaging $36,000.

In addition to its rankings in the category of best value, U.S. News also recognized Princeton on unranked lists for economic diversity, the culminating experience of the University's senior thesis requirement, and opportunities for undergraduate research, in addition to Princeton topping the list of students graduating with the least average debt.

"We are pleased to be acknowledged as one of the leading universities in the country, and we'll continue our commitment to showing prospective students and their families how the Princeton experience continues to evolve every year," officials said. "We strongly encourage students to use a wide range of valuable and readily available resources to find the best match for them."

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