U.S. and international publications give Princeton high marks in rankings

Princeton University continues to be recognized on national and international college ranking lists as a top university for its quality of education, commitment to generous financial aid and leadership in sustainability initiatives.

The University was ranked No. 2 in the Best National Universities category in the "U.S. News 2011 America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, was ranked No. 2 in "America's Best Colleges" by Forbes.com and topped several categories in the Princeton Review. U.S. News placed Princeton second for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and third among national universities for best value. The University also topped U.S. News' list for students graduating with the least average debt.

Princeton also was selected as the No. 8 university in the world by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. The "Top Universities Guide," published in early 2010, ranked 621 institutions across the globe.

"While we are gratified by the widespread recognition of the overall quality of education we provide, we continue to stress that formulaic rankings do not consistently represent what an individual college can offer a potential student, and it's impossible for them to accurately reflect the distinctiveness of an institution," Princeton officials said. "For example, the University remains unwavering in its commitment to financial aid initiatives that make a Princeton education accessible to all admitted students, increasing its financial aid budget to meet the growing needs of families, particularly in the current economic climate. Also, our groundbreaking Bridge Year Program provides incoming freshmen with University support to defer enrollment to spend a tuition-free year doing service work abroad."

In new rankings that highlight impressive environmental and sustainability programs, Princeton was recognized for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve resources, and implement sustainable construction and building practices. The University was included in the April 2010 "Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges," which profiles the nation's most environmentally responsible campuses. In addition, The Sustainable Endowment Institute's "College Sustainability Report Card 2010" gave Princeton high marks in its categories for administration, food and recycling, and student involvement with campus sustainability efforts.

"Although rankings cannot encompass all of the school's efforts, leadership in sustainability is a University priority, and Princeton continues to achieve goals set by the comprehensive Sustainability Plan it adopted in 2008," officials said.

Forbes magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity stated that in their third year of rankings, they focused on how well schools meet students' needs, as well as students' academic and college experience, postgraduate success and average debt at graduation.

Princeton also was ranked No. 2 in the earlier list of "100 Best Values in Private Colleges" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. The University's comprehensive aid plan helps moderate- to upper-middle-income families afford the cost of college by providing need-based aid in the form of grants rather than loans. This makes it possible for students to graduate from Princeton debt-free. More than 60 percent of Princeton undergraduates are on financial aid, and the average aid grant for a freshman in the class of 2014 is $36,650.

The Princeton Review education service's "Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition," placed the University third in the categories of "students happy with financial aid" and "great financial aid." Princeton was named to the publication's "2011 Financial Aid Rating Honor Roll," recognizing the 11 colleges that received its highest possible financial aid rating. The University also was in the top 10 for the categories of "best college library" and "most beautiful campus." The Princeton Review is a private firm not affiliated with the University and ranked schools based on student survey responses to various elements of campus life.

Princeton receives favorable ratings annually from various organizations in such areas as: top graduate school programs; campus climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students; and being a top work environment for individuals pursuing careers in academia.

In addition to its rankings for best national universities, U.S. News ranked Princeton on its lists for best undergraduate engineering programs and economic diversity. Princeton also was included in the magazine's unranked categories for the culminating experience of the University's senior thesis requirement, opportunities for undergraduate research and creative projects, and an emphasis on writing across the curriculum.

"We recognize the growing abundance of rankings guides, and we always encourage students to use a variety of resources available to find schools that satisfy their interests," officials said. "We hope that prospective students take advantage of Princeton's website, admission materials, social media tools and campus tours to learn about the excellence of the University."