Harvard Bumps Princeton in Top Colleges List

Smaller class size helps Harvard back to top of influential US News ranking
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2008 9:40 AM CDT
Graduating student Marc Eames swings an incense burner as he waits for commencement ceremonies at Yale, 3rd in this year's US News rankings.   (AP Photo/Bob Child)
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(Newser) – Harvard has reclaimed sole possession of the top spot in the ever-controversial US News and World Report rankings for the first time in 12 years. Princeton slipped to second, with Yale in third and Stanford and MIT tied for fourth spot. The magazine rates the halls of learning based on factors like SAT scores, reputation, and selectivity .

A reduction in class sizes helped America's oldest and richest university clamber back to the top, reports the AP; the number of classes with fewer than 20 students rose from 69% to 75% since last year, while classes of 50-plus sank from 13% to 9%. The rankings, oft-criticized for being slow to change, added an "up-and-coming" list  this year, highlighting George Mason University and Arizona State, among others, as rising stars.