The U.S. News & World Report ranks the top 10 public colleges annually, and the University of California Berkeley tops the 2015 list. Half of the schools chosen are located in the state of California, with University of California Los Angeles and University of Virginia tied for second place.
The five California schools ranked in the top 10 all belong to the University of California system, and they also include the campuses in Davis, Santa Barbara and Irvine. The four other schools on the list which are not in California are the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, College of William and Mary, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
U.S. News & World Report has named UC Berkeley the best public college in the United States for 17 years. In addition, the highest seven schools on the 2015 list are exactly the same as the 2014 list. The organization based its decision on the three most recent years of available data, which are 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Rankings are based on a specific methodology, where a school's mission statement is weighed against 16 factors indicating academic excellence, including retention rate and strength of the faculty. The list is designed to indicate which schools provide the most return on investment for higher education.