13 best universities in the DC area, according to new rankings

WASHINGTON — Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Georgetown University in D.C. and the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, remain the top three universities in the wider D.C. area, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

The 2018 list from U.S. News ranks more than 200 universities around the country based on academic performance — including freshman retention rates and six-year graduation rates — as well as faculty and financial resources.

All told, 13 D.C.-area universities were nationally ranked, with three of the them falling in the top 30 schools nationally.

Johns Hopkins, which ranked No. 11 nationally, was also cited as a “best-value,” school by U.S. News. In 2016, 45 percent of students received need-based grants. The average cost of attendance after those grants were factored in was $30,067 — a 56 percent discount from the total cost without grants.

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Johns Hopkins University in Maryland was ranked No. 11 nationally in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. FILE — Students walk on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in this 2014 file photo. (Johns Hopkins University/Facebook)
 In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
No. 20 Georgetown University in D.C. was ranked No. 20 in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
An award-winning author and professor at University of Virginia is the subject of a Title IX investigation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The University of Virginia was ranked No. 25 nationally in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. A family takes photographs during first year move-in day while on the Lawn of the University of Virginia, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va., a week after a white nationalist rally took place on there. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
George Washington University graduates Serena Williams, left, and Hannah Raymond, center and Katie Kenny, right, struggle against a strong wind as they pose for graduations pictures near the Washington Monument, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Washington, after their commencement ceremony on the National Mall. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
George Washington University in D.C. was ranked No. 56 in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. George Washington University graduates Serena Williams, left, and Hannah Raymond, center and Katie Kenny, right, struggle against a strong wind as they pose for graduations pictures near the Washington Monument, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Washington, after their commencement ceremony on the National Mall. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
The University of Maryland College Park campus is embroiled in a controversy over a racist and sexist email sent by a student last year. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
University of Maryland at College Park was ranked No. 61 in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. The University of Maryland College Park campus is seen in this 2015 WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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American University in D.C. was ranked No. 69 in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. FILE — American University campus in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
The University Commemoration took place on the Drillfield at the April 16 Memorial on Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)
Virginia Tech was ranked No. 69  in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. The University Commemoration took place on the Drillfield at the April 16 Memorial on Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Courtesy Virginia Tech) (Courtesy Virginia Tech)
Howard Graduates
Howard University in D.C. came in at No. 110  in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. Graduates photograph President Barack Obama as he gives his commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Howard University in Washington, Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP)
Samantha Parson, Colin Nackerman
George Mason University in Virginia was ranked No. 140  in the U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges rankings. FILE: In this photo taken Oct. 7, 2015, George Mason University students Colin Nackerman, left, and Samantha Parson, pose for a portrait by the George Mason statue on campus in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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02Hopkins.jpg
 In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, students walk past a Jesuit statue in front of Freedom Hall, center, formerly named Mulledy Hall, on the Georgetown University campus, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
An award-winning author and professor at University of Virginia is the subject of a Title IX investigation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
George Washington University graduates Serena Williams, left, and Hannah Raymond, center and Katie Kenny, right, struggle against a strong wind as they pose for graduations pictures near the Washington Monument, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Washington, after their commencement ceremony on the National Mall. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The University of Maryland College Park campus is embroiled in a controversy over a racist and sexist email sent by a student last year. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
AmericanUniversity.JPG
The University Commemoration took place on the Drillfield at the April 16 Memorial on Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Courtesy Virginia Tech)
Howard Graduates
Samantha Parson, Colin Nackerman
The University of Virginia, ranked No. 25 nationally, was also No. 3 in the country specifically among public universities.

Among the top-performing local schools, Howard University jumped 14 spots on the list, from 124 to 110 — ahead of the Catholic University of America, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Howard’s freshman retention rate improved to 86 percent and the percentage of students graduating within six years increased to 61 percent. (See the full list of area colleges that were nationally ranked by U.S. News below.)

Howard was also ranked No. 2 among historically black colleges, behind Spelman College in Atlanta.

The D.C. area also rated highly for top-ranked schools that offer benefits for veterans. Schools in this category had to be certified for the GI Bill, which pays tuition and fees for active-duty service members and veterans; participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, which provides additional funds; and enroll a minimum number of service members and veterans.

Georgetown was ranked No. 4 on the list of best colleges for veterans, followed by the College of William and Mary in Virginia, which ranked No. 12. George Washington University came in at No. 24, and the University of Maryland at College Park was ranked No. 29.

Overall, Princeton was the top-ranked U.S. university for the seventh year in a row, followed by Harvard, the University of Chicago and Yale.

Delece Smith-Barrow said students and parents can use the rankings as a tool in the college search.

“They should keep in mind that a number of factors go into making the decision about where to attend school, such as location, cost, course offerings, activities. So families should certainly weigh all these things and figure out … which of these have the options that best meets the needs for their student,” Smith-Barrow told WTOP.

Area universities ranked nationally:
No. 11. Johns Hopkins University (Md.)
No. 20. Georgetown University (D.C.)
No. 25 University of Virginia
No. 32 College of William and Mary (Va.)
No. 56 George Washington University (D.C.)
No. 61. University of Maryland — College Park
No. 69. American University (D.C.)
No. 69. Virginia Tech
No. 110. Howard University (D.C.)
No. 120. Catholic University of America (D.C.)
No. 140. George Mason University (Va)
No. 159. University of Maryland — Baltimore County
No. 171. Virginia Commonwealth University

The rankings also include a breakdown of the best liberal arts colleges nationwide. See a list of the area liberal colleges that were nationally ranked below:

Area liberal arts colleges ranked nationally:
10. Washington and Lee University (Va.)
21. United States Naval Academy (Md.)
53. St. John’s College (Md.)
65. Virginia Military Institute
96. Hampden-Sydney College (Va.)
96. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
96. Washington College (Md.)
112. Goucher College (Md.)
112. Hollins University (Va.)
126. Randolph-Macon College (Va.)
134. McDaniel College (Md.)
138. Randolph College (Va.)
138. Roanoke College (Va.)
168. Emory and Henry College (Va.)

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.


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