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Forbes: W&M among 'America's Top Colleges'

William & Mary is among the country’s top universities, according to rankings released by Forbes on Aug. 1.

In the “America’s Top Colleges” guide to 650 undergraduate institutions, the College is the second-highest ranked state-supported school in the country. The university comes in at fourth among the country’s public universities (including military institutions) and 40th overall, up from 49th last year. William & Mary is also 21st among research universities on the list.

According to the Forbes website, the annual rankings are compiled by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. They are based on five areas: post graduate success, student satisfaction, debt, four-year graduation rates and competitive awards.

Only two state-supported schools ranked in the top 50 of the annual report, and both are located in Virginia: William & Mary and the University of Virginia, which was ranked at 36th. The other three public institutions that made the top 50 are all military-related, with the United States Military Academy coming in at seventh, the United States Air Force Academy at 35th and the United States Naval Academy at 43rd.

The complete rankings may be found online at www.forbes.com/top-colleges. They will also appear in the Aug. 20 issue of Forbes Magazine.

On Aug. 2, Governor Bob McDonnell released a statement regarding the Forbes ranking:

“Virginia’s schools have had a reputation for excellence in higher education dating back to before there was a United States of America. I applaud the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary for this additional recognition as the top public non-service academy colleges in the country for 2012," he said.

"The rankings focus on ‘quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt.’ Virginia schools recognize that they must continue to improve to remain national leaders in public higher education and it encourages me to see efforts to innovate and enhance the quality of higher education paying off, with both schools improving in their overall national standings. I thank the college presidents and administrators at UVA, William and Mary, and our many other outstanding colleges and universities for not only focusing on improving the quality of instruction, but for addressing the significant challenges students face regarding college affordability and access.

"After years of double-digit tuition increases and diminishing state funding, Virginia invested more than $200 million of new money in higher education funding in the biennial budget, and college presidents responded with the lowest tuition increases in a decade. Our work to reform will continue, and Virginia's tremendous colleges and universities will continue to remain national models for achievement in higher education in the years ahead.”