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Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Michael Tran of Centreville walked to his car with his father, Trung Tran, after moving onto campus last month. The Richmond school fell from No. 157 to 162 in the latest U.S. News & World report ranking.

Virginia is no longer home to a top 25 college.

The University of Virginia fell out of the top 25 to No. 28, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report national university rankings, released Monday. UVA came in at No. 25 on each of the past two years’ lists.

The Charlottesville school was named the fourth-best public university in the U.S. behind the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In the national liberal arts school rankings, Washington and Lee University climbed one spot from No. 11 to No. 10. The University of Richmond, the only other Virginia school in the top 50 of the liberal arts rankings, rose two spots to No. 23. Both were ranked in the top 25 for best-value school in the liberal arts category.

The closely followed U.S. News & World Report list is considered the definitive ranking of top colleges. The criteria for the rankings, which include student-to-faculty ratio, alumni giving and graduation rates, among others, can drive university policy as schools work to improve their spot on the list.

U.S. News weighs more than a dozen different factors for a school and creates an overall score for each school. UVA, for example, finished with an overall score of 73.

“For more than three decades, we’ve collected and analyzed data on thousands of colleges and universities across the country and helped put schools on the map,” said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News.

“We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation. They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg finished at No. 40, down from No. 38 last year and tied with Brandeis University, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Northeastern University and the Tulane University. William & Mary was named the 12th-best public school.

“Rankings are something that can’t drive your thinking, but because many of our constituencies care about them, we have to pay attention to them to some degree,” said William & Mary President Katherine Rowe last year when asked about the issue shortly after taking office.

Virginia Tech climbed two spots to No. 74, tied with Fordham University and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. Virginia Commonwealth University fell from No. 157 to No. 162.

In total, Virginia placed five schools in the top 200 institutions — UVA (No. 28), William & Mary (No. 40), Virginia Tech (No. 74), George Mason University (No. 153) and VCU (No. 162).

Princeton and Harvard universities retained their No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. There was a three-way tie for third place among Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.

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jmattingly@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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