Vanderbilt 14th in ‘U.S. News’ rankings; cited for ‘best value,’ ‘best undergraduate teaching’

Vanderbilt has been recognized as one of the nation’s top universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges rankings. Vanderbilt is 14th among national universities, up one spot from last year.

The university also received high marks for its approach to need-based financial aid, undergraduate teaching, and several programs that address the student experience.

Vanderbilt ranked ninth on the publication’s list of Best Value Schools, which lists the universities that offer the best value for students receiving need-based financial aid. The Opportunity Vanderbilt financial aid program meets 100 percent of eligible students’ demonstrated need without loans. In addition, Vanderbilt ranked 12th for Best Undergraduate Teaching, rising eight places from the previous year.

“At Vanderbilt, we believe in the power of human potential, a place where ideas can flourish, arguments are discussed, and students grow as individuals and members of a community. These characteristics are the foundational pillars of a transformative, empowering education,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said.

In the category Academic Programs to Look For, Vanderbilt placed 12th for Learning Communities as well as for Service Learning, up four spots in each since last year. Vanderbilt was also cited among the nation’s best academic programs for Undergraduate Research and First-year Experience. In addition, the university rose eight places in the Most Innovative Schools category, to No. 23.

“These rankings recognize the rich experience students get in our residential colleges and through initiatives like Immersion Vanderbilt,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “We’re firmly committed to ensuring that each one of our students undertakes a holistic academic and personal journey that helps them acquire the knowledge, skills and perspective to become future leaders, wherever their lives or careers may take them.”

The 2021 Best Colleges rankings evaluate colleges and universities on 17 measures of academic quality, including retention and graduation rates, class size, the strength of the faculty, per-student spending, and peer universities’ as well as high school counselors’ assessments.

For more information about this year’s rankings, visit