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Duke falls 3 places in Forbes' 2021 top colleges ranking, Berkeley tops list

Duke may be number one in our hearts, but it ranked twelfth in the 2021 edition of Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges list.

Duke earned the ninth spot on Forbes’ list in 2019, an increase from its tenth place rank in 2018. Forbes suspended the list in 2020 in order to re-evaluate their ranking methodology. 

For the first time ever, a public school—University of California-Berkeley—topped the list. Six public institutions were ranked within the top 25 schools. 

The new rankings factor in “what kind of students [universities] educate and whether they make themselves accessible to those who can’t afford high sticker prices.” 

Yale University ranked second on this year’s Forbes list, followed by Princeton University, Stanford University and Columbia University in the third, fourth, and fifth place spots. Dartmouth College secured the eleventh-highest ranking, just one spot ahead of Duke. 

Forbes’ revamped methodology accounts for alumni salary, average federal student loan debt and five-year repayment rates, student return on investment, retention rate and graduation rate. The rankings also take into consideration the number of students who make the Forbes American Leaders List and earn doctoral degrees and prominent fellowships. 

Forbes’ top colleges list was drawn from a selection of 600 four-year schools, a pool of about 15% of the nearly 4,000 degree-granting academic institutions in the country.

Duke ranked tenth in the 2020 and twelfth in the 2021 U.S. News and World Report National Universities rankings. Their 2022 rankings have not yet been published as of Wednesday.

Anna Zolotor profile
Anna Zolotor

Anna Zolotor is a Trinity senior and recruitment chair for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously news editor for Volume 117.


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