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September 13, 2016

Several Philly-area schools rank high on list of nation's best colleges

Villanova included in national university category for first time

Higher Education Rankings
Carroll - University of Pennsylvania Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Locust Walk on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Two Philadelphia-area colleges, both familiar sights on lists of the nation's best institutions of higher learning, were included in the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the country's best national universities.

The rankings, released Tuesday, put the University of Pennsylvania at eighth, a jump from ninth in last year's rankings. Villanova University was ranked 50th.

For Villanova, this is the first time the school's been listed in the U.S. News' national university category.

Previously, the private institution had been included in the publication's regional university category, where it had been No. 1 in the north region for 23 straight years. 

That changed this year when Villanova's Carnegie Classification, a system used by U.S. News to categorize schools, was bumped up to the doctoral universities category, making it eligible for the national universities rankings.

U.S. News includes 310 colleges in its national universities category, which ranks schools that "offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs."

“This new ranking is a significant milestone in the University’s history, and is one more example of how Villanova continues to move forward academically,” said Villanova President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue.

Several suburban Philadelphia colleges also ranked high on U.S. News' list of the country's best liberal arts colleges, including Swarthmore College (fourth), Haverford College (12th) and Bryn Mawr College (31st).

A number of factors are used to determine schools' rankings for both categories, including value, academic achievement and how high school counselors evaluate each school.

For the full rankings of the best national universities, click here. For the full rankings of the best liberal arts colleges, click here.