SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College is ranked among the top 85 colleges and universities in the country – 85th overall and the highest-ranked South Carolina institution – in the seventh annual rankings of “America’s Top Colleges” by Forbes magazine. The ranking was an improvement over last year’s ranking of 119th, according to the rankings released this week on

In addition, Wofford is ranked 12th among the Best Colleges in the South, compared to a ranking of 20th last year, and is 71st among the Best Private Colleges, up from 89th in 2013.

“This year it comes down to small, student-centric, liberal arts colleges vs. large, brainy, research-oriented universities closely associated with science, technology, engineering and math,” writes Caroline Howard. The ranking “reveals higher education in flux, ongoing debate between the value of liberal arts vs. STEM degrees and a winning formula of high student satisfaction and graduation rates, alumni career success and low student debt.”

The top 10 on the overall list, in order, are Williams College, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Princeton University, Yale University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pomona College, U.S. Military Academy and Amherst College.

For the seventh year, Forbes partnered exclusively with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). The Forbes list of 650 colleges and universities distinguishes itself among competitors because of its “firm belief in ‘output’ over ‘input,’” Howard writes. “We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college.” The magazine uses National Center for Education Statistics data and PayScale as sources, among others.

Forbes selected the 650 institutions it ranked from more than 2,500 four-year campuses – public, private, large and small – across the country and evaluated them based on five general categories: student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and academic success (measured based on prestigious scholarships and fellowships, such as Rhodes, National Science Foundation and Fulbrights, as well as students who go on to earn Ph.D.s).

For a full listing, go to