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USA University rankings. MIT is at top (again!).

University rankings is a quirky business, and as far as the annual US college and university rankings is concerned, the US News & World Report rankings basically do not much more than indicate a trend towards the quality of education and success rate of its student body. Such listings are useful, but serve a limited purpose. They somehow do not indicate well enough how that university and its students/alum have contributed to the society.

However, a new kind of university ranking has now hit town, and in may ways this might provide more useful information for policy-makers and motivated student/alumni body (alike). The ranking is not about the student-teacher ratios, money availble for research, endowment contributions by alumni etc, but about the social impact of universities and their students. Its a fascinating list, and one that deserves a second and a third look. I stand proud today – not just because MIT once again reached the highest rankings among other colleges and universities, but because it has been recognized today for making meaningful and real difference in people’s lives. An aspiration I believe I was also taught at MIT.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reads:

The Washington Monthly, a political magazine, today published its second annual college rankings, and they’re quite a different animal from the lists compiled by magazines like U.S. News & World Report. As with last year’s rankings (The Chronicle, August 22, 2005), the 2006 batch gives top billing to colleges that are engines of social mobility, not just finishing schools for the super-rich; that foster “scientific and humanistic research”; and that promote an “ethic of service to country.”

With those criteria, the rankings come out quite a bit differently than those compiled by U.S. News. Most of the Ivy League institutions plummet; many state colleges and universities rise to the top. The University of California, for example, put four of its campuses (Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Davis) into the top 10 among national universities.

The top institution over all, as last year, is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among liberal-arts colleges, Bryn Mawr College nosed out last year’s leading institution, Wellesley College, for the top spot.

Here are the top 50 rankings for 2006. The full list can be found here.

Washington Monthly Ranking University
*Public University
State U.S. News Ranking
**Unranked
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA 7
2 University of California, Berkeley* CA 20
3 Pennsylvania State University, University Park* PA 48
4 University of California, Los Angeles* CA 25
5 Texas A&M University* TX 60
6 University of California, San Diego* CA 32
7 Stanford University CA 5
8 Cornell University NY 13
9 South Carolina State University* SC **
10 University of California, Davis* CA 48
11 University of Wisconsin, Madison* WI 34
12 Yale University CT 3
13 University of Notre Dame IN 18
14 University of Chicago IL 15
15 University of Washington* WA 45
16 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign* IL 42
17 University of Texas, Austin* TX 52
18 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor* MI 25
19 College of William and Mary VA)* 31
20 University of Virginia* VA 23
21 University of Rochester NY 34
22 University of California, Riverside* CA 85
23 Duke University NC 5
24 Alabama A&M University* AL **
25 Case Western Reserve University OH 37
26 Rice University TX 17
27 Ohio State University, Columbus* OH 60
28 Harvard University MA 1
29 Johns Hopkins University MD 13
30 University of Pennsylvania PA 4
31 Georgetown University DC 23
32 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill* NC 27
33 University of Southern California SC 30
34 Brown University RI 15
35 Dartmouth College NH 9
36 Columbia University NY 9
37 University of Florida* FL 50
38 Iowa State University* IA 85
39 University of Arizona* AZ 97
40 Ohio University* OH 60
41 Fordham University NY 68
42 Northwestern University IL 12
43 Princeton University NJ 1
44 New Mexico State University* NM **
45 Washington University in St. Louis WA 120
46 Jackson State University* MS **
47 Vanderbilt University TN 18
48 Utah State University* UT **
49 Marquette University WI 85
50 Michigan State University* MI 74
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