Changes to the ranking formula included focusing on social mobility and outcomes for graduating students, such as how many students on Pell Grants graduate from a particular school.
U.S. News also kept some of the more controversial aspects of its formula, such as having universities give peer evaluations of each other.
“For 40 years, students and their families have come to count on Best Colleges as a vital resource as they navigate one of the most important decisions of their lives,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News.
“The significant changes in this year’s methodology are part of the ongoing evolution to make sure our rankings capture what is most important for students as they compare colleges and select the school that is right for them.”
The new rankings showed little changes at the top. Princeton is still the No. 1 ranked school, M.I.T second and Harvard and Stanford tied for third.
The bigger changes were shown further down the list and gave a boost to some state public universities while demoting some private colleges.
The University of Texas at San Antonio went up 92 spots, California State University saw a bump of 88 spots and the University of Nevada at Reno increased by 68 spots.
The new rankings come after many prestigious universities said they would no longer cooperate with U.S. News because of disagreements they have with their formula.
“Rankings are useful only when they follow sound methodology and confine their metrics to what the data can reasonably capture — factors I’ve described in my own research on election administration,” Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement last year.
“Over the years, however, U.S. News has refused to meet those conditions despite repeated calls from law school deans to change,” Gerken added. “Instead, the magazine continues to take data — much of it supplied by the law schools solely to U.S. News — and applies a misguided formula that discourages law schools from doing what is best for legal education.”
However, most schools did not follow suit and have provided the information U.S. News needed for its new list.