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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carolina ranks 5th among national public universities for 17th consecutive year

Carolina maintains its top-five standing among public universities.

Carolina, the nation’s first public university, once again ranks among the very best universities and colleges in the nation.

A leading public research university committed to making its high-quality education accessible and affordable, Carolina placed fifth among national public universities for the 17th straight year according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings, published Sept. 12 on

For the 13th consecutive year, Carolina also places first among national public universities and ninth overall in “Great Schools, Great Prices,” based on academic quality and the 2016–17 net cost of attendance for a student receiving the average level of need-based financial aid.

“Carolina’s placement among the top five public universities for the 17th consecutive year is a testament to an enduring commitment made by our students, faculty and staff to excellence and creating solutions to tackle the world’s most complex problems,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “The Carolina community continues to make a difference in people’s lives – in our state and well beyond North Carolina’s borders – through a continuing dedication to distinguished scholarship, groundbreaking research and life-changing public service.”

Carolina maintains its top-five standing alongside the same public universities perennially at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings. This year, the University of California, Berkeley placed first, followed by the University of California, Los Angeles, second; the University of Virginia, third; and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, fourth.

U.S. News & World Report bases the rankings on several weighted key measures of quality: graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), assessment of excellence by academic peers and high school counselors (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (difference between actual and U.S. News’ predicted graduation rates, 7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent).

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.

This dedication to providing support and opportunities to low-income students through programs such as Carolina Firsts and the Carolina Covenant was recognized by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation when in June of 2017 Carolina became the first public university to receive the Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence.

In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Carolina was again ranked 30th overall among both public and private universities and colleges. Carolina’s other rankings included: