Kiplinger Names Top Private Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges of 2014

Although it may seem more challenging than ever to provide a quality education while keeping costs low, many colleges and universities across the country are succeeding on both counts.

Based in Washington, D.C., Kiplinger is a publisher of personal finance advice and business forecasts, available in software, video, audio, online and print products. The company’s yearly list ranks the top 100 liberal arts colleges and 100 private universities. The total ranking points were divided by cost criteria (45 percent) and quality criteria (55 percent).

The colleges on this list exemplify the key attributes that students and parents are seeking in higher education, including student indebtedness, financial aid, cost, academic support, four-year graduation rates and competitiveness.

Kiplinger representatives say that all colleges and universities on the list fall within the definition of value – an affordable education with quality instruction.


Kiplinger included admission rate and yield as the two primary factors while also considering the number of incoming freshmen who scored highly on the ACT or SAT.

Graduation Rates

The four-year graduation rate of each institution is assessed to determine the percentage of students who receive their undergraduate degrees within budget and on time.

Academic Support

Freshmen retention rate and students per faculty are the key measures in this field.

Financial aid and cost

Colleges and universities with the lowest total cost (books, room and board, fees, tuition) scored favorably.

Student Indebtedness

Schools that held a lower average student debt were rewarded, with factors including the percentage of borrowers among the student body.

Top Private Universities

No. 1: Princeton University

No. 2: Yale University

No. 3: Harvard University

No. 4: Rice University

No. 5: Duke University

No. 6: Vanderbilt University

No. 7: California Institute of Technology

No. 8: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

No. 9: Stanford University

No. 10: Dartmouth College

No. 11: University of Pennsylvania

No. 12: Cornell University

No. 13: Brown University

No. 14: Emory University

No. 15: University of Chicago

No. 16: Georgetown University

No. 17: Johns Hopkins University

No. 18: University of Notre Dame

No. 19: Washington University (St. Louis)

No. 20: Northwestern University

Top Liberal Arts Colleges

No. 1: Swarthmore College

No. 2: Washington and Lee University

No. 3: Wellesley College

No. 4: Haverford College

No. 5: Pomona College

No. 6: Amherst College

No. 7: Vassar College

No. 8: Bowdoin College

No. 9: Williams College

No. 10: University of Richmond

No. 11: Colgate University

No. 12: Middlebury College

No. 13: Davidson College

No. 14: Hamilton College

No. 15: Colby College

No. 16: Macalester College

No. 17: Hillsdale College

No. 18: Grinnell College

No. 19: Barnard College

No. 20: Bates College

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