Venerable Stanford University earned the top spot on Forbes' 2013 rankings of America's Top Colleges
, based on an exclusive study done by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity.
The annual rankings are featured in the Aug. 12 issue of the financial publication.
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Stanford bumped Princeton University from first to third in this year's list, which considered several factors: student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate, and nationally competitive awards.
Pomona College shot up from ninth to second, with Yale University and Columbia University rounding out the Top 5.
"Picking a college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime," Forbes Executive Editor Michael Noer said in a statement announcing the rankings. "Our college rankings were created to inform consumers about the quality of the educational experience and our brand new financial health grades give insight into which schools will be around for the long-haul."
Completing the Top 10 are: Swarthmore College, United States Military Academy, Harvard University, Williams College, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The list includes a complete ranking of 650 colleges, as well as breaking down the Best Value Colleges, Best Public Colleges, Best Private Colleges.
Some schools are cited for the wrong reasons, such as falsifying data given to the Education Department to improve their ranking. In the previous four years, Bucknell University, Claremont McKenna College, Emory University, and Iona College have lied, and have found a place under Forbes' "Schools of Deception."
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