N.J. universities place amazingly well in latest U.S. News survey

Record 6 schools make Top 100, including Rutgers-New Brunswick at record-high No. 40 (yes, Princeton was No. 1 again)

New Jersey’s institutions of higher education are making their move in the national rankings.

A record six schools placed in the Top 100 of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking of national universities, which was released Monday and long has been considered the gold standard of college rankings. Four additional schools were at No. 163 or better.

Rutgers University made some of the biggest jumps, as the New Brunswick campus ranked in a tie for No. 40 (the first time in recent memory it has been in the Top 50). Both Rutgers-Newark (tie for No. 82) and Rutgers-Camden (tie for No. 98) were in the Top 100 for the first time.

Princeton University (No. 1), Stevens Institute of Technology (tie for No. 76) and New Jersey Institute of Technology (tie for No. 86) also made the Top 100.

Of the state’s Top 10 schools, eight improved their ranking, including seven by double-digits (four by at least 23 spots). The only school that didn’t improve its ranking wasn’t able to. Princeton was No. 1 for the 13th consecutive year.

New Jersey also had six schools in the Top 50 of the regional universities in the North, led by The College of New Jersey at No. 4.

Among states, only four had more schools in the national Top 100: California (16), New York (11), Massachusetts (9) and Pennsylvania (8). Texas also had six schools.

The biggest reason for the increase was an overhauled methodology, which put more weight on what New Jersey institutions take pride in doing: improving the social mobility and outcomes for graduating students.

U.S. News increased the importance on a school’s ability to graduate students from different backgrounds as well as graduating them with manageable debt and post-graduate success (things that matter most), while eliminating credit given for alumni contributions (which seemingly is a better measure of wealth of alumni).

A look at where the top New Jersey schools ranked among national universities:

  • No. 1: Princeton University
  • No. 40 (tie): Rutgers University – New Brunswick (up 15 spots)
  • No. 76 (tie): Stevens Institute of Technology (up 7 spots)
  • No. 82 (tie): Rutgers University – Newark (up 33 spots)
  • No. 86 (tie): New Jersey Institute of Technology (up 11 spots)
  • No. 98 (tie): Rutgers University – Camden (up 29 spots)
  • No. 151 (tie): Seton Hall University (down 14 spots)
  • No. 159 (tie): Stockton University (up 23 spots)
  • No. 163 (tie): Montclair State University (up 19 spots)
  • No. 163 (tie): Rowan University (up 31 spots)

See the complete rankings here.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who continually touts New Jersey’s K-12 system (annually ranked No. 1 in the country), has a lot more to talk about.

“I am pleased to see so many of our institutions of higher education recognized for their top-notch performance, and congratulate each New Jersey school that made it onto the Top 100 list,” he said. “New Jersey prides itself on consistently leading the nation in education and empowering students of every age to receive a high-quality education in our state.”

All this comes at a time when so many New Jersey schools are increasing access by lowering costs for those with the fewest means.

“My administration will continue our ongoing efforts to make higher education more affordable and accessible, so that anyone seeking a degree can benefit from the educational programs offered by our state’s many excellent colleges and universities,” Murphy said.

Schools are placed in the national or regional rankings based on factors involving graduate degrees.

A look at where the top New Jersey schools ranked among regional universities in the North:

  • No. 4: The College of New Jersey (up 1 spot)
  • No. 17 (tie): Monmouth University (up 1 spot)
  • No. 27 (tie): Ramapo College of New Jersey (up 1 spot)
  • No. 33 (tie): Rider University (down 11 spots)
  • No. 45 (tie): Fairleigh Dickinson University (up 18 spots)
  • No. 45 (tie): Saint Peter’s University (up 13 spots)
  • No. 69 (tie): William Paterson University (up 6 spots)
  • No. 80 (tie): Caldwell University (up 13 spots)
  • No. 96 (tie): Saint Elizabeth University (up 5 spots)

A look at the Top 5 national universities overall

  • No. 1: Princeton University
  • No. 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • No. 3 (tie): Harvard University
  • No. 3 (tie): Stanford University
  • No. 5: Yale University