U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of Richmond at No. 33 on this year's list of top liberal arts colleges, tying Trinity College of Hartford, Conn., and propelling the school to its highest ranking since it moved from the "Best Master's Universities" category in 2006.
Last year, Richmond ranked 40th on the U.S. News list, tied with Franklin & Marshall College, Sewanee-University of the South and Union College. The school was 34th in 2006, its first year on the "Best Liberal Arts Colleges" list after spending 11 consecutive years atop the best master's universities category for colleges in the south.
Richmond also appeared on the magazine's lists of "Great Schools, Great Prices" and "Schools to Watch," the latter reserved for schools with innovative changes to academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities, according to a university news release. The school was also placed on the "Programs to Look For" list.
School officials are attributing the seven spot jump to the 8,000 admission applications -- a record number -- the university received last year, in addition to increased faculty resources, Pell Grants, graduation rates and academic reputation.
The survey based its results -- released Friday -- on seven factors, including academic assessment from peer institutions, a category that receives 25 percent of weight in the final score.
U.S. News also examines retention rates (20 percent of the score), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), alumni giving (5 percent), and graduation rate performance (5 percent).
The publication's rankings come as President Edward Ayers begins his second year leading the university. Washington & Lee University, the only Virginia college ahead of Richmond on the 265-school liberal arts colleges list, claimed 17th.
U.S. colleges and universities are divided into three other categories: best national universities, best master's universities by region and best baccalaureate colleges by region.
The liberal arts colleges list was topped by Amherst College and Williams College -- both in Massachusetts -- and for the first time in 12 years, Harvard University took sole possession of best national universities, beating out Princeton University.
Contact online editor Dan Petty at email@example.com
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