Forbes lists W&M sixth-best public university

  • W&M studentsTo those who attend William and Mary, the College's consistently high rankings come as no surprise.

    W&M students

(Williamsburg, VA) – For the second time in less than a month, Forbes magazine has recognized William and Mary as a top institution of higher education.

In its inaugural College guide, “America’s Best Colleges,” Forbes.com listed William and Mary as the sixth-best public university in the country. The annual ranking comes just a few weeks after Forbes.com listed the Commonwealth of Virginia as the best state for business for the third year in a row. Virginia topped the list, the magazine said, in part because of an “educated labor force fueled by its proximity to Washington, D.C., and top colleges like the University of Virginia and William and Mary.”

The Forbes.com rankings – conducted in conjunction with Ohio University economist Richard Vedder and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity – evaluates 569 undergraduate institutions based on “the quality of the education they provide, and how much their students achieve.”  The rankings were released on the magazine’s Web site this week.

The Forbes.com rankings are billed as an alternative to the annual college guide produced each year by U.S. News & World Report. In last fall’s U.S. News rankings, William and Mary was also listed as sixth best public.

In Forbes.com overall category – including both publics and privates – William and Mary was listed 49th and was one of only six public universities – in addition to the U.S. Military Academy (sixth), the U.S. Air Force Academy (16th), New College of Florida (29th) the U.S. Naval Academy (36th) and the University of Virginia (43rd) -- listed among the overall top 50. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point received the top spot among public universities. The University of California, Berkeley – which usually competes with UVA each year as the top public in the U.S. News rankings – was listed as 8th among public and 73rd overall. Princeton University was listed as the country’s top overall university.

The Forbes.com rankings cite five components to its methodology – listing of alumni in the 2008 Who’s Who in America (25 percent), student evaluations of professors from ratemyprofessors.com (25 percent), four-year graduation rates (16 2/3 percent), enrollment-adjusted numbers of students and faculty receiving nationally competitive awards (16 2/3 percent), and the average four-year accumulated debt of students borrowing money for College (16 2/3 percent).

While the U.S. News rankings are expected later this month, William and Mary recently appeared in another ranking. Last month, the Princeton Review ranked William and Mary eighth in the category of “Best College Library.”