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How SMU stacks up on new ranking of best U.S. colleges

How SMU stacks up on new ranking of best U.S. colleges

SMU Cox School of Business
Forbes has released its list of the top colleges in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Kesterson

Obviously we're a little biased toward Southern Methodist University here in Dallas, but a new report shows few other Lone Star institutions edging out SMU.

Forbes' new list of America's Top Colleges ranks Rice University No. 1 in Texas and No. 32 in the U.S. UT Austin takes the No. 2 spot in the state, but places much lower in the national ranking, No. 82. (UT fell six spots from the 2014 ranking, while Rice stayed the same.) SMU comes in at No. 108, fourth in the state behind San Antonio's Trinity University (No. 100).

The focus of the annual list is "return on investment" — which university gives you the most bang for your buck. Factors such as student debt, graduation rates, student satisfaction, academic success and career success were taken into consideration.

According to Forbes, an education at SMU will cost $63,985 annually. At this private Dallas school, 76 percent of students receive financial aid. Notes Forbes, "nearly three-quarters of freshmen receive institutional aid averaging $22,600." The average price tag for Rice is $56,316, with 75 percent of students getting financial aid, and at UT Austin the yearly cost is $51,352; 63 percent of students receive financial aid. 

Rice and UT both trump SMU on the research front, ranking No. 17 in the country and No. 40 in comparison to SMU's No. 49. Rice and SMU have a better student-to-teacher ratio: 8-to-1 and 11-to-1, versus UT's 18-to-1.

Other Texas schools that make the cut on Forbes' list are Texas A&M (No. 150), Southwestern University (No. 194), Baylor University (No. 197), Texas Christian University (No. 210), University of Dallas (No. 257), Texas Tech (No. 403) and University of North Texas (No. 570).