Vanderbilt maintains No. 14 position on 2022 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings

The university shares the No. 14 spot with Brown University and Washington University in St. Louis.


Emery Little

Kirland Hall, as photographed on Nov. 9, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Charlotte Mauger and Rachael Perrotta

For the second consecutive year, Vanderbilt tied at No. 14 on the U.S. News Best Colleges ranking with Brown University. Washington University in St. Louis moved up from No. 16 to form a three-way tie. 

These universities lie below Dartmouth College at No. 13 and above Cornell University and Rice University, which are tied at No. 17. 

“We continue to thrive because of our collaborative culture in which we work together—and support each other—to accomplish great things, in service of helping everyone fulfill their highest potential,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said in the university’s Sept. 13 press release.

Princeton University remained at the top of the list, followed this year by a three-way tie between Columbia University, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at No. 2. In 2021, Harvard stood alone at No. 2 with Columbia following at No. 3 and MIT at No. 4. Yale University follows this three-way tie to round off the top five. Duke was the only new addition to the top ten, re-entering at No. 9 after falling to No. 12 in 2021. 

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is the only and highest-ranked public school in the top 20. The University of California, Berkeley (22) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (23), which tied with Georgetown University, were the second and third-highest ranked public schools on the list. 

The 2022 U.S. News ranking—which has published annual rankings for 37 years—is based on 17 metrics, an increase from last year’s 15. These metrics are organized into eight overarching sections: graduation and retention rates (22 percent weight), social mobility (5 percent weight), graduation rate performance (8 percent weight), undergraduate academic reputation (20 percent weight), faculty resources for the 2020-21 academic year (20 percent weight), student selectivity for the Fall 2020 entering class (7 percent weight), financial resources per student (10 percent weight), average alumni giving rate (3 percent weight) and graduate indebtedness (5 percent weight). 

Since many institutions adopted a test-optional policy in 2021 due to COVID-19-induced exam cancelations, the 2022 list featured an adjusted consideration of test score submissions for some schools’ rankings. 

If the combined percentage of the fall 2020 entering class submitting test scores was less than 50% of all new entrants, its combined SAT/ACT percentile distribution value used in the rankings was discounted by 15%,” the article reads. “In previous editions, the threshold was 75% of new entrants.”

Vanderbilt’s other notable U.S News rankings include No. 8 for Best Value Schools, No. 12 for Best Undergraduate Teaching and No. 36 for Best Undergraduate Engineering Program. The university’s No. 8 Best Value ranking—which measures the gap between school quality and affordability—reflects a one-spot increase from 2021. Affordability was measured based on the average need-based financial aid package given to students. Vanderbilt currently offers need-based financial assistance to 65 percent of undergraduates and meets 100 percent of students’ demonstrated needs via Opportunity Vanderbilt.

Additional rankings released by U.S. News include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Most Innovative Schools and National Liberal Arts Colleges.