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Duke and UNC top U.S. News rankings. Here’s where other North Carolina schools stand

People walk on Duke University’s West Campus during the fall 2020 semester.

People walk on Duke University’s West Campus during the fall 2020 semester.

Duke University

Several North Carolina colleges and universities landed among the nation’s best in this year’s U.S. News & World Report annual rankings, which were released Monday.

The rankings evaluate more than 1,400 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality and outcomes, including graduation rates and student debt.

Duke University was at the top of the list for North Carolina schools at 9th overall. UNC-Chapel Hill was the highest-rated public university in the state and 5th highest public university nationally.

The full list of rankings and additional insights can be viewed at U.S. News & World Report’s website.

National universities

Duke University ranked 9th overall and 13th best value. The total cost at Duke was listed at about $80k, but that goes down to an average of about $26,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. Duke’s undergraduate nursing program, a new category this year, ranked 2nd overall.

Duke also earned top 20 rankings for most innovative schools and undergraduate teaching among its peers. Duke’s computer science program ranked 23 and its undergraduate engineering program ranked 27th among those with doctorate programs.

UNC-Chapel Hill ranked 28th overall and was named the 5th best public university in the nation. UNC-CH earned a 10th best value ranking. The total cost calculated by U.S. News was about $50,000. That goes down to an average of about $20,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given.

UNC-CH’s undergraduate nursing program ranked 4th and its business program ranked 8th. The university ranked 10th best for veterans. UNC-CH’s computer science program was ranked at 31 and undergraduate engineering among schools with doctorate programs ranked 63rd.

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The Old Well on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Courtesy, UNC-Chapel Hill

Wake Forest University ranked 28th overall and 24 best value. The total cost is about $80,000, which goes down to an average of about $26,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarship given. Wake Forest’s undergraduate business program ranked 41.

N.C. State University ranked 79th overall and 32nd among public universities. NC State ranked 59 in best value, with a total cost of about $45,000 that decreases to an average of about $30,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. NCSU’s undergraduate business program ranked 84th, computer science program ranked 51st and undergraduate engineering with doctorate program ranked 36th.

Elon University ranked 83rd overall and 59th for best value. Elon’s total cost is about $55k, but that goes down to an average of about $38,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given.

Elon ranked No. 1 for study abroad and undergraduate teaching and 9th for most innovative schools.

UNC Wilmington ranked 187th overall and 96th among public universities.

East Carolina University was ranked at 213 overall and 107 among public universities. ECU’s undergraduate nursing program ranked 76th.

UNC Charlotte ranked 227th overall and at 112 among public universities. UNCC’s undergraduate nursing program ranked 58th.

UNC Greensboro was ranked at 239 overall and 118 among public universities and in the top 20 for social mobility. UNCG’s nursing program was also ranked 58th.

Campbell University was ranked at 277 overall.

North Carolina A&T was also ranked at 277 overall and at 140 among public universities. NC A&T ranked 8th among historically Black colleges and universities and the 2nd best public HBCU. It was also named among the top 50 most innovative schools.

Regional universities in the South

Appalachian State University ranked 6th overall and 3rd among public universities. App State ranked 22nd for best value with a total cost of about $35k that falls to an average of about $25,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. App State ranked 2nd for veterans and undergraduate teaching among its peers.

Western Carolina University ranked at 21 overall and 9th among public universities. Western Carolina ranked 8th for best value with a total cost of about $23,000 that goes down to an average of about $19,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. WCU ranked 8th for veterans and 16th for social mobility among its peers.

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The Hoey Administration Building on the N.C. Central University campus sits behind a statue of James Shepard, founder and president of North Carolina College at Durham from 1910 to 1947. John Rottet John Rottet

N.C. Central University ranked 48th overall and 21st among public universities. NCCU ranked 47th for best value. The total cost is about $37k, but that goes down to an average of about $28,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. NCCU ranked 13th overall among all HBCUs and 5th among public HBCUs. NC Central ranked 10th for social mobility and 21 for veterans among its peers.

Winston-Salem State University also ranked 48th overall and 21st among public universities. WSSU ranked 16th among HBCUs and 6th among public HBCUs. The university ranked 3rd for social mobility.

UNC Pembroke ranked 65th overall and 30th among public universities. UNCP ranked in the top 20 for social mobility.

Fayetteville State University ranked 77th overall and 38th among public universities. FSU ranked 24th among all HBCUs and in the top 20 for social mobility.

Methodist University ranked 102 overall.

National liberal arts colleges

Davidson College ranked 13th overall and 8th for best value. Davidson’s total cost was calculated to be about $73,000, but that drops to an average of about $23,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given. Davidson ranked 9th for undergraduate teaching.

Meredith College ranked at 136 overall.

UNC Asheville ranked at 146 overall and 9 among public colleges. UNCA’s undergraduate engineering ranked in the top 100 for schools with no doctorate program.

Best regional colleges in the South

High Point University ranked No. 1 overall and 2nd for undergraduate teaching. HPU ranked 17th for best value with a total cost of about $57,000 that drops to an average of about $40,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given.

William Peace University ranked 30th overall and 29th for best value among its peers. WPU’s total cost is about $50k, but that goes down to an average of about $38,000 when factoring in the amount of need-based aid and scholarships given.

Elizabeth City State University ranked 33rd overall, 4th among public colleges and 10th for social mobility. ECSU ranked 22 among all HBCUs.

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People walk across the main courtyard on the campus of St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh. Chris Seward File photo

St. Augustine’s University and Shaw University both ranked in the top 100 overall and among HBCUs.

How are universities ranked and compared?

National universities: Schools in the national universities category offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, according to U.S. News.

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University Plaza on N.C. State’s campus, also known as the Brickyard. Julia Wall [email protected]

Liberal arts colleges: Liberal arts colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study, according to U.S. News.

Regional universities: Regional universities offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs, according to U.S. News. The four regions are North, South, Midwest and West.

Regional colleges: These colleges focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines, according to U.S. News. The four regions are North, South, Midwest and West.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: These historically Black Colleges and Universities were compared only with one another for these rankings and must be currently designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an HBCU, according to U.S. News.

Best value schools: This ranking takes into account a school’s academic quality and the net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid, according to U.S. News.

Undergraduate teaching, most innovative, business and engineering programs: The rankings in these categories were based on peer assessment surveys, according to U.S. News.

Veterans: For this ranking, schools reported on their enrollment of and benefits for veterans and active-duty service members in the annual survey, according to U.S. News.

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Kate Murphy covers higher education for The News & Observer. Previously, she covered higher education for the Cincinnati Enquirer on the investigative and enterprise team and USA Today Network. Her work has won state awards in Ohio and Kentucky and she was recently named a 2019 Education Writers Association finalist for digital storytelling.
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