JHU ranks No. 12 in 'U.S. News' best colleges rankings

Johns Hopkins remains 12th in the newest U.S. News & World Report "best colleges" rankings, maintaining for a second year its highest placement in the past 15 editions of the widely read college guide.

Last September, the university was tied for 12th among national universities; this year, it stands alone in that spot.

"Fundamentally, the best universities comprise exceptional students, extraordinary scholars and teachers, and an environment that allows them to do their best work together," says Ronald J. Daniels, president of the university. "At Johns Hopkins, we work every day to foster an ever more supportive and dynamic environment for our outstanding students and faculty. For the sake of those great teachers and learners, I am delighted that our university has been recognized again as being among the nation's very best."

In the magazine's peer-assessment survey of university presidents, provosts, and deans, Johns Hopkins rose this year to a tie for seventh, up a notch from last year's tie for eighth. The university remained at last year's spot in a similar survey of high school guidance counselors, tied for seventh with seven other schools. Both surveys are components of the "best colleges" rankings.

Overall, the newest version of the annual U.S. News list maintains an upward trend for Johns Hopkins. The university ranked 15th among national universities in 2008 and since then has been listed 14th, tied for 13th, 13th alone (twice), tied for 12th, and now a solo 12th.

A focus on building the Johns Hopkins undergraduate experience "so it stands among the top 10 in the nation" is one of the goals Daniels outlined in "Ten by 2020," a report laying out the university's vision for the rest of the decade. The document commits Johns Hopkins to raising undergraduate student aid resources sufficient for need-blind admissions, pioneering innovations in teaching, and building new collaborative and social space for students, among other enhancements.

Johns Hopkins now sits one place ahead of Northwestern University, the school with which it tied for 12th a year ago and which it trailed a year earlier.

The Whiting School of Engineering rose to a tie for 15th on the list of top undergraduate engineering programs at schools offering a PhD. That's two slots ahead of last year's 17th-place tie. The university's biomedical engineering program remains ranked at No. 1 nationally.

The university remains on U.S. News' separate annual lists of schools noted for socioeconomic diversity and for value, or "great schools at great prices." The university made those lists with 43 percent of its students given need-based financial aid, 13 percent receiving federal Pell grants, and an average discount of 56 percent from the "sticker price." The total 2014–15 undergraduate aid budget for the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering is $80 million, the largest in the university's history and a 60 percent boost since 2008–2009.

Johns Hopkins also remains on the list of schools known for undergraduate research and creative projects, offering opportunities for undergraduates to do original work that elsewhere might be reserved for graduate students.