Stony Brook University heads the list of local schools and...

Stony Brook University heads the list of local schools and is ranked No. 80 among national universities in a tie with five others, up from No. 97 last year. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Princeton University took first place for the eighth straight year in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "Best Colleges" rankings in the category of national universities, and Williams College in Massachusetts maintained its streak for a 16th year as tops nationally among liberal arts colleges.

Harvard University was second among national universities, and tying for third were Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Chicago and Yale University.

The latest U.S. News rankings evaluated data for more than 1,800 schools nationwide, including four-year public and private universities and colleges on Long Island. The rankings, first released in 1983, were made public early Monday.

Stony Brook University headed the list of local schools in the rankings, placing at No. 80 among national universities in a tie with five others and also ranking No. 32 in the subset of public schools in that category. Last year, Stony Brook ranked 97th nationally.

The placement at 80th was the highest ever for Stony Brook, university officials said. The school first received a numerical rank in the 2003 "Best Colleges," published in fall 2002.

“While we are appreciative and pleased with the new data, Stony Brook has become a world-class institution not by managing toward rankings but rather by managing toward mission — exemplary academics, cutting-edge research, state-of-the-art health care, economic vibrancy, and celebrating diversity,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement.

The U.S. News rankings first hit newsstands in 1983. Through the years, they have received mixed reviews from college and university administrators.

The rankings evaluate schools on hundreds of data points, using up to 16 measures of academic quality. U.S. News updated the methodology this year to emphasize student outcomes, which hold the most weight at 35 percent — up from 30 percent last year. With the change, the organization sought to measure how well schools support low-income students through graduation.

U.S. News, as part of stressing outcomes, also dropped schools' acceptance rate from the "Best Colleges" methodology altogether. Previously, that was given a weight of 1.25 percent.

“A university is not successful if it does not graduate its students, which is why the 'Best Colleges' rankings place the greatest value on outcomes, including graduation and retention rates,” said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News.

Hofstra University placed at No. 140 among national universities and was No. 77 in the "best value" subcategory among those. Adelphi University also placed in the top 100 of best value schools, tied at No. 86 with one other school.

"Over the last decade, the qualifications and diversity of Hofstra’s incoming first-year students have steadily increased, and the satisfaction and graduation rates we’ve measured indicated they have experienced greater success," Hofstra University spokeswoman Karla Schuster said in a statement.

"While we recognize that rankings are one way for consumers to compare colleges, the rankings do fluctuate, often due to changes in methodology, and the student data used is up to 10 years old. At Hofstra University, with our continually improving profile and student body, rankings do not reflect our dynamic and innovative culture," Schuster said.

Molloy College was the highest-ranked local school in the category of regional universities in the northern part of the country, coming in at No. 25 along with two others.

"We were also recently named one of Money magazine’s most transformative colleges and one of The Wall Street Journal’s best added value institutions," Molloy President Drew Bogner said in a statement. "These national rankings are proof that our model works — we support each student on their educational and professional journey as we help them live their dream."

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point was ranked No. 3 among local schools in the category of regional colleges in the North, and Farmingdale State University was No. 19, tied with one other school.

“We are always pleased to be near the top of the U.S. News rankings for colleges in the northern region, and are especially proud of the fact that we are the top local college," said Rear Adm. James A. Helis, the academy's superintendent. "The programs at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy prepare the men and women that attend to serve as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces, something we have been doing successfully for the past 75 years.”

For the first time, the University of California at Los Angeles ranked as the sole No. 1 top public school among national universities, having tied for first in the 2018 ranking. Five of the top 10 schools on the top public school list are California schools.

Across the country, there are about 3,000 postsecondary institutions. U.S. News does not rank all of them. SUNY Old Westbury is unranked and is listed in alphabetical order on a list of schools in the regional colleges in the North.

With Michael R. Ebert

U.S. News "Best Colleges" rankings

Here's how Long Island universities and colleges placed on U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "Best Colleges" rankings. Not all of the Island's institutions were ranked.

National Universities

Stony Brook University, No. 80, with five others

Hofstra University, No. 140, with six others

Adelphi University, No. 147, with four others

Regional Universities, North

Molloy College, No. 25, with two others

New York Institute of Technology, No. 50, with four others

St. Joseph's College, No. 62, with four others

LIU Post, No. 120, with two others

Regional Colleges, North

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, No. 3

Farmingdale State College, No. 19, with one other

Best Value, National Universities

Hofstra University, No. 77

Adelphi University, No. 86, with one other

Stony Brook University, No. 118

* Webb Institute, a private college of naval architecture and marine engineering located in Glen Cove, is not on the U.S. News & World Report list because it has fewer than 200 students.

** Five Towns College is ranked between Nos. 36-47 among Regional Colleges, North.

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months