Analysing various aspects of colleges and universities is not always straightforward. US News and World Report makes the whole task easier- it ranks all key US colleges and universities based on their rank.
In order to make a fair evaluation, each college rank is based on 16 unique criteria.
Out of the 1800 colleges in the their directory, about 500 remain unranked. This might be simply because of lack of figures, size of the schools or specific specialization of the institution.
In 2012, the U.S. News & World Report Rankings held information on 1391 colleges . The compiled data on educational institutions is obtained from many different sources like American Association of University Professions, National Collegiate Athletic Association and U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. These resources are used when the college itself declines or does not provide the stats themselves.
The criteria that is used in US News and World Report Rankings -
Undergraduate academic reputation (22,5 or 25 %, depending on whether the school is National or Regional)
Retention rate (20% or 25%, depending on whether the school is National or Regional)
Faculty Resources (20%). This contains information about size of the classes, faculty salary, student-faculty ratio and portion of the faculty that are full time.