HIGHER EDUCATION CAN BE a vast and confusing landscape, populated with thousands of colleges and universities across the nation, divided into many categories and comprising differing institutional missions.
When making a decision on where to enroll, prospective students and families are faced with a multitude of questions about how to pay for college, including how much debt they will take on, and how their chosen major will pay off, while also weighing factors such as academics, location, campus culture, safety and more.
To help demystify higher education and to aid students and their families in making the right college choice for them, U.S. News has released its 2021 Best Colleges rankings. The first edition of the rankings was released in 1983, and they have continued to evolve with more schools and data points for college-bound students to consider.
The 2021 edition provides data on more than 1,800 colleges and universities, with rankings for more than 1,400 institutions. Schools reported most of the data used to compile these rankings to U.S. News in an annual survey and were instructed to confirm the accuracy of their data. The rankings data pertains to student and faculty cohorts that predate the coronavirus pandemic, and thus the impact of COVID-19 on higher education is not reflected in how schools performed overall.