Skip to main content
A shot of the Bell Tower by Donn Young
(photo by Donn Young)

 U.S. News & World Report ‘Best Colleges’ list ranks Carolina 30th overall

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is again listed as one of the top universities in the country.

For the 18th straight year, UNC-Chapel Hill, a public research university dedicated to making its first-class education both accessible and affordable, has placed fifth among national public universities on U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings, published today (Sept. 10) on For the 14th consecutive time in “Great Schools, Great Prices,” Carolina was the first national public university, the eighth overall in rankings of national universities for best value.

“Our students, faculty and staff’s commitment to excellence is evident in Carolina’s placement among the top five public universities for the 18th consecutive year,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “As we remain steadfast in our mission of serving the public in our state and around the world, we will continue to make a world-class education affordable, conduct ground-breaking research and lead in innovation for the future.”

The ranking comes just days after the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked Carolina as the best public university for financial value, and the second overall among the top 250 institutions. In addition to being recognized by U.S. News for this commitment, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has ranked Carolina first 17 times among U.S. public colleges and universities offering stellar academics at a reasonable price.

U.S. News & World Report assesses these rankings on over a dozen measures: graduation and retention rates (22 percent); assessment of academic quality by presidents, provosts, deans of admissions and high school counselors (20 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student excellence (10 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance (8 percent); alumni giving (5 percent) and social mobility (5 percent).

The University has a unique commitment to making a Carolina education accessible to deserving students. The University practices need-blind admissions and proudly meets 100 percent of the documented need of undergraduates qualifying for need-based aid who apply on time and meets more than two-thirds of that need with grants and scholarships.  Fourteen percent of the Class of 2022 qualified for the Carolina Covenant, and since it began in 2003, more than 6,500 students have benefited.  For the 13th consecutive year, Carolina received a record number of first-year applications for fall 2018 – from 43,384 applicants and up 6 percent from last year.

Additional U.S. News rankings including UNC-Chapel Hill were as follows:

  • In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, UNC-Chapel Hill tied at 30th overall for best national university with New York University and University of California-Santa Barbara among both public and private schools.
  • Listed 40th among national universities in terms of student debt load at graduation, 40 percent of UNC-Chapel Hill students who graduated in 2017 received need-based grants, with an average graduating class indebtedness of $22,214.
  • A 97 percent average first-year retention rate for the 10th consecutive year and a 91 percent average six-year graduation rate, two percentage points above U.S. News’ prediction.
  • Fourth-best public university for veterans, tied with UC-Santa Barbara, and listed 10th-best college overall for veterans with New York University and UC-Santa Barbara, highlighting the strong support UNC-Chapel Hill has provided to military students through initiatives that include the UNC Core, a distance-learning program; Green Zone training; Student Veteran Resources and the Warrior Scholar Project.
  • Only 13 percent of 2017 course sections enrolled 50 or more students.
  • Third among public universities along with Georgia Tech, UCLA and Michigan and tied for 23nd overall in high school counselors’ top picks with Emory University, Georgia Tech, New York University, Tufts University, UCLA, Michigan, University of Southern California and University of Virginia.
  • Tied eighth overall and tied for fourth among publics with the University of Virginia for best undergraduate business programs. For specialty areas, Kenan-Flagler Business School tied for fourth in entrepreneurship and was listed fourth for management and fifth for marketing in listings based on programs nominated by business school deans and faculty members that received the most mentions in a 2018 survey.


Comments are closed.