University News

UNC-Chapel Hill ranks fifth among national public universities 19 years consecutively

U.S. News & World Report ranked Carolina No. 1 as the best value for public universities.

Students walk on campus.
Students walk through campus on the first day of classes on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

For 19 years running, the nation’s oldest public university is also ranked one of its best.

According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges rankings, Carolina tied for fifth place in national public universities overall. For 15 consecutive years, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked No. 1 as the best value for public universities, and this year landed among the top ten universities for best value nationwide.

“Carolina’s commitment to being the leading global public research university is evident in our top five ranking for public universities for the 19th consecutive year,” said Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Our students, faculty and staff achieve excellence in research, teaching, innovation and service every day. We are dedicated to ensuring that each of our students can gain a high-quality college degree without the overwhelming burden of college debt, and our ranking as the top public university for best value reflects that promise of access and affordability.”

The recent ranking comes after another year of recognitions for Carolina for offering stellar academics at a reasonable price. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked Carolina third among all public universities nationwide, and in the top 10% of all colleges – public or private – across the United States. It was rated the fifth best value among public schools in the U.S., and its graduates have financial prospects in the top 10% of all graduating students nationwide. For the 18th time, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked Carolina first in the nation’s best value among public colleges and universities.

U.S. News & World Report assesses its annual rankings on more than a dozen measures: graduation and retention rates; assessment of academic quality by presidents, provosts, deans of admissions and high school counselors; faculty resources; student excellence; financial resources; graduation rate performance; alumni giving and social mobility.

Carolina has a unique commitment to making education accessible to deserving students. The University practices need-blind admissions and proudly meets 100% of the documented need for undergraduates who qualify for need-based aid and apply on time. Carolina meets more than two-thirds of that need with grants and scholarships. Thirteen percent of the Class of 2023 qualified for the Carolina Covenant. The University received a record 43,472 first-year applications this year, the 13th consecutive year in which applications have increased.

Additional U.S. News rankings of UNC-Chapel Hill included:

  • In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, UNC-Chapel Hill tied at 29th overall for best national university with Georgia Institute of Technology among both public and private schools.
  • Listed 10th among best colleges for veterans, tied with Georgia Institute of Technology, highlighting the strong support Carolina has provided to military students through initiatives that include the UNC Core, a distance-learning program; Green Zone training; Student Veteran Resources and the Warrior Scholar Project.
  • A 91% average six-year graduation rate.
  • Only 12% percent of 2018 course sections enrolled 50 or more students.
  • Tied eighth overall and tied for fourth among publics for the second year in a row with the University of Virginia for best undergraduate business programs.