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September 16, 2021

Public universities deliver the most outstanding education to the broadest range of students at the most affordable price. That’s the message of Forbes’ 2021 ranking of top colleges. Using a new methodology that counts low-income student outcomes and adds a giant federal database to Forbes’ tally of graduate earnings, for the first time ever, Forbes has ranked a public school, the University of California at Berkeley, in the No. 1 spot.

Harvard, unseated from first place, is a distant No. 7. There are five other publics in the top 25 including three UCs, the University of Michigan and the University of Florida. Forbes put the list together in consultation with higher ed consultant Michael Itzkowitz. See here for a complete methodology, here for a story about what makes the University of California great and here for a piece about the weirdest year in college sports.

Read the full profile on Forbes: forbes.com/top-colleges/

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