Average U.S. News Rankings for 123 Universities: 2013-2020

Editor’s note: This post has now been updated, effective September 9, 2019, to include new U.S. News rankings for 2020.  Listed below are the yearly rankings and overall average rankings of 123 national universities that were included in the first tier of the U.S. News Best Colleges from 2013 through 2020. There are 61 public and 62 private universities. The list below not only shows the average rankings over this eight-year period but also lists the number of places lost or gained by each university.

U.S. News has changed its methodology, and there are some significant changes, especially after the top 30-35 places in the rankings. Major gains for Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, most UC campuses.

Beginning in the 2019 edition, U.S. News “factored a school’s success at promoting social mobility by graduating students who received federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000).”

This has shaken up the rankings quite a bit, and the trend will continue. Previously, a school’s wealth drove the rankings, without regard to the number of low-income students enrolled. Now school wealth can have a different impact by enabling institutions with more resources to “afford” the enrollment of more students who cannot pay full tuition. Some universities that lack big endowments formerly raised their rankings by enrolling students with higher test scores, even if merit aid was necessary. Now that model might not be as effective, since many of those students did not receive Pell grants.

While we appreciate the massive amount of data that the U.S. News rankings provide on class sizes, grad rates, retention rates, and even selectivity, on the whole the rankings fail to evaluate efficiency (the number of students who receive a high-quality education at a relatively low cost) and should not use selectivity and wealth as metrics.

Here are the historical rankings, the average of each school across eight years, and the increase or decline of each school from 2013 through 2020. The universities are listed in order of their average ranking across the years.

Here is the list.

US News 2013--202020132014201520162017201820192020Avg RankChg 2013
to 2020
Princeton1111111110
Harvard122222221.875-1
Yale3333333330
Columbia4444553341
Chicago454433364-2
Stanford654455765.250
MIT677775335.6253
Penn878988867.752
Duke8788898108.25-2
Caltech101010101210121210.75-2
Johns Hopkins1312121010111010113
Northwestern12121312121110911.3753
Dartmouth101011121111121211.125-2
Brown151416141414141414.3751
Cornell151615151514161715.375-2
Vanderbilt171716151514141715.6250
Washington Univ141414151918191916.5-5
Rice171819181514161716.750
Notre Dame171816181518181516.8752
Emory202021212021222120.75-1
UC Berkeley212020202021222220.75-1
Georgetown212021212020222421.125-3
UCLA242323232421192022.1254
USC242325232321222222.8752
Carnegie Mellon232325232425252524.125-2
Virginia242323262425252824.75-4
Wake Forest272327272727272726.50
Tufts282827272729272927.75-1
Michigan292829292728272527.754
North Carolina303030303030302929.8751
NYU323232323630302931.6253
Rochester333233333234332932.3754
Boston College313131303132383732.625-6
William & Mary333233343232384034.25-7
Georgia Tech363636363434352934.57
Brandeis333235343434354034.625-7
UC Santa Barbara414140373737303437.1257
Case Western373738373737424038.125-3
UC San Diego383937394442413739.6251
UC Davis383938414446383940.375-1
UC Irvine444942393942333640.58
Boston Univ514142413937424041.62511
RPI414142413942495043.125-9
UW Madison414147414446494644.375-5
Northeastern564942473940444044.62516
Lehigh384140474446535044.875-12
Florida544948475042353444.87520
Illinois464142414452464845-2
Tulane515254413940444045.12511
U of Miami444748514446535748.75-13
Penn State463748475052595749.5-11
Pepperdine545754525046465051.1254
UT Austin465253525656494851.5-2
Washington 465248525456596253.625-16
Ohio St5652545254545654542
Georgia 636062615654465056.513
George Washington515254575656637057.375-19
Syracuse586258616061535458.3754
Connecticut635758576056636459.75-1
SMU586058615661636460.125-6
Purdue656862616056565760.6258
Maryland586262576061636460.875-6
WPI6562685760615964621
Fordham585758666061707463-16
Pitt586262666868705763.8751
Clemson686262616667667065.25-2
Brigham Young686262666861637765.875-9
Yeshiva464748526694809766.25-51
Rutgers6869707270695662676
Texas A&M656968707469667068.875-5
Minnesota686971697169767070.375-2
Virginia Tech726971707469767471.875-2
American777571727169787773.750
Stevens Inst Tech7582767571697074741
Baylor777571727175787974.75-2
Clark837576757481669177.625-8
UMass Amherst979176757475706477.7533
Iowa727371828278898478.875-12
Michigan St727385758281858479.625-12
Delaware757576757981899180.125-16
UC Santa Cruz778685827981708480.5-7
Col School of Mines779188758275808481.5-7
Indiana837576758690897981.6254
Miami Oh897576827978899182.375-2
Marquette837576868690898483.625-1
TCU928276828278809783.625-5
Florida St979195969281705784.87540
Binghamton899788898687807986.87510
Denver839188868687969789.25-14
Stony Brook928288899697809189.3751
San Diego929195898690859189.8751
NC State1061019589928180849122
Colorado 9786888992909610492.75-7
Tulsa83868886868710612192.875-38
Vermont9282858992979612194.25-29
Drexel8397959996941029795.375-14
St. Louis92101999696941069797.625-5
Univ at Buffalo106109103999997897997.62527
Loyola Chicago106101106999910389104100.8752
Auburn899110310299103115107101.125-18
Tennessee101101106103103103115104104.5-3
Alabama77868896103110129153105.25-76
Oregon115109106103103103102104105.62511
New Hampshire1069799103107103106125105.75-19
Illinois Tech11310911610810310396117108.125-4
UC Riverside1011121131211181248591108.12510
South Carolina115112113108107103106104108.511
Oklahoma10110110610811197124132110-31
Iowa St101101106108111115119121110.25-20
Pacific106112116108111110106125111.75-19
Missouri979799103111120129139111.875-42
Nebraska10110199103111124129139113.375-38
Kansas106101106115118115129130115-24
Dayton115112103108111124127132116.5-17
Clarkson115121121115129124102117118-2
Arizona1201191211211241241061171193
Howard12014214513512411089104121.12516
Catholic120121116123124120129139124-19
Michigan Tech120117116123118124136147125.125-27
Arizona St139142129129129115115117126.87522
Kentucky125119129129133133147132130.875-7
Colorado St134121121127129124140166132.75-32
Arkansas134128135129135133147153136.75-19