National and international rankings recognize Princeton as a top university

Princeton University has retained a leading position on national and international college ranking lists for its academic quality, outstanding undergraduate student experience, generous no-loan financial aid, and leadership in successful sustainability initiatives.

The University was ranked No. 1, tied with Harvard University, in the Best National Universities category in the "U.S. News 2012 America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, No. 2 in the Forbes ranking of the 650 best undergraduate institutions in America's Best Colleges, and No. 1 in the most recent list of "100 Best Values in Private Colleges" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, which came out in fall 2010.

U.S. News placed Princeton at the top of its list for the quality of undergraduate teaching, academic value and low student debt for graduates, topping the list for low student debt among national universities. The University also ranked high in the Princeton Review education service's ranking for financial aid and several other categories.

In addition, Princeton achieved distinction in international surveys. The University was ranked No. 7 in the Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking, officially known as the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU); Princeton was ranked No. 13 among 700 institutions across the globe by the QS World University Rankings; and the University was ranked No. 5 in Times Higher Education's World Reputation Rankings 2011, announced in fall 2010.

In a new ranking by Education Sector, Princeton was placed first among top private universities for its low student debt burden. Cited for its pioneering no-loan financial aid reform, Princeton also received the No. 1 ranking in the inaugural edition of Top 50 Colleges and Universities in America by the organization The Best Colleges, a ranking based solely on publicly available data.

Additionally, the Princeton Review education service's "Best 376 Colleges - 2012 Edition ," ranked the University second in the "great financial aid" category and named the University among the top 10 in the "students study the most," "most beautiful campus," "best college library" and "best classroom experience" categories. 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.

Among a host of other rankings, the University continues to rank well in semi-annual and occasional surveys measuring such areas as: top schools for students of various ethnic minority groups, leading graduate school programs; favorable campus climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students; and being a top work environment for individuals pursuing careers in academia. In rankings reflecting the use of emerging technologies, Princeton also received high ratings among schools that are making effective use of social media.

"We are very pleased by the recognition that the University continues to receive for our quality of education, groundbreaking financial aid and the student experience," Princeton officials said. "Even with this recognition, however, we continue to feel that formulaic rankings can never reflect the distinctiveness of an institution and may not represent what an individual college can offer a potential student.

"At Princeton, we're particularly proud of our pioneering Bridge Year Program that offers students a unique international experience living abroad tuition-free while performing service projects before they begin their Princeton careers," officials said. "Also, the University's trailblazing no-loan financial aid program makes a Princeton education accessible to all admitted students, who can graduate with little or no debt."

Princeton was the first University in the United States to offer a comprehensive no-loan policy in which need-based aid is provided in the form of grants rather than loans. This makes it possible for students to graduate from Princeton debt-free. About 60 percent of the incoming class of 2015 is on financial aid. The average financial aid award for a student in the Princeton class of 2014 was $38,350.

Princeton also was recognized in areas of service and leadership in several ranking systems, including being listed in the top 20 among medium colleges and universities contributing the greatest number of graduating seniors to Teach For America.

In the area of environmental responsibility, Princeton's sustainability efforts earned the University a place in the April 2011 "Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges," which profiles the nation's most environmentally responsible campuses. The Sustainable Endowment Institute's May 2011 "College Sustainability Report Card 2011" gave Princeton high marks in its categories for administration, student involvement with campus sustainability efforts, investment priorities, food and recycling, and subsidized public transportation.

U.S. News' assessment in various areas related to academics ranked Princeton on its lists for best undergraduate engineering programs and best value. Princeton also was included in the magazine's 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.

"The variety of rankings from different sources offer students a wealth of information, but we encourage students to also take advantage of resources offered by the colleges and universities and other organizations to identify schools that match their interests," Princeton officials said. "Additional resources at Princeton include the University’s websites, social media, admission materials and campus tours."