Columbia has been ranked the third top national university of 2020, tying with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University for the spot, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Princeton University and Harvard University were ranked first and second, respectively.
Last year marked the first time Columbia broke into the top three since the inception of the U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings in 1983. For the past fifteen years, the University consistently fell in between the 10th- and third-best slots. In 2019, Columbia tied for third with MIT, Yale, and the University of Chicago, the latter of which is now ranked sixth.
Best Colleges Rankings evaluate each institution across 15 measures of academic quality, including the percentage of full-time faculty and financial resources per student. Last year, the rankings first began to account for factors of social mobility, including the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients.
Though the accuracy of the new factors has been debated, they are particularly relevant to Columbia due to the high percentage of students at the School of General Studies who receive Pell Grants.