Local colleges gain ground in U.S. News rankings

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 17, 2010; 11:31 AM

The 2011 U.S. News & World Report college rankings came out at midnight Tuesday, and the news is mostly good for universities in the D.C. region.

Climbing even a single place in the preeminent college rankings is an accomplishment in the top 50 spots. Several local institutions gained at least that much ground.

There's little movement at the top of the rankings. If there's a national headline, it may be that Columbia University has displaced MIT as the fourth-ranked national university. Harvard, Princeton and Yale rank 1-2-3, same as last year.

Rounding out this year's top 10: Stanford, Penn, Cal Tech, Dartmouth, Duke and the University of Chicago. Of that group, only Dartmouth missed the top 10 a year ago.

Among nationally ranked liberal arts schools, this year's top rankings mirror last year's precisely: Williams College, followed by Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury and Wellesley (tied -- again), Bowdoin and Pomona (tied -- again), then Carleton College, which last year tied with Davidson College but this year edges it out for non-alphabetical reasons.

Locally, Johns Hopkins University moves from 14th on last year's list to 13th this year on the ranking of top national universities, the most prestigious of the many U.S. News tabulations.

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