Skip to main content

Vanderbilt earns best-ever No. 15 ranking from ‘U.S. News & World Report’

Sep. 9, 2015, 12:01 AM

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University earned its highest position ever in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings as well as kudos for its commitments to undergraduate teaching and affordability.

At No. 15 on the list of best national universities released Sept. 9, Vanderbilt tied with Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis. That’s up a notch from last year’s No. 16 ranking, which was Vanderbilt’s best-ever at that time. In the top spot this year was Princeton, followed by Harvard, Yale and – in a three-way tie at No. 4 – Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago.

“Vanderbilt’s deeply held commitment to serving society through education, research and service has positioned the university among our nation’s best,” said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “Our culture of providing opportunity combined with academic excellence continues to attract keen interest among bright young scholars and their families. We are pleased to receive these recognitions of the many strengths and values that make Vanderbilt such a special place of learning, discovery and community.”

The U.S. News & World Report rankings were based on seven categories ranked in importance. They were assessment of excellence from academic peers and high school guidance counselors (22.5 percent), graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent) graduation rate performance (the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates) (7.5 percent), and alumni giving (5 percent).

Vanderbilt was ranked No. 8 by its academic peers in the best commitment to undergraduate teaching category, tied with Stanford. For the great schools, great prices category, the magazine used a formula taking into account the academic rating and net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. Vanderbilt was No. 12 on this list.

Vanderbilt was also on the list of economically diverse schools, with U.S. News & World Report noting that 14 percent of its undergraduates received Pell grants. It held the No. 13 spot for best colleges for military veterans, which ranks schools that are certified for the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program (or charge in-state tuition to out-of-state veterans).

High school counselors were polled on their top picks among national universities. They selected Vanderbilt No. 14, tied with California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Chicago and Notre Dame.

Vanderbilt School of Engineering ranked No. 36 among engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. The No. 1 engineering school was MIT.

Read social media reaction to the rankings »

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Keeping pace: Nashville, once a mid-size city with a Southern small-town feel, is experiencing explosive growth.

VUMC campus

VUMC campus

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine entrance

Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital with helipad

Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital with helipad

more