America's Top Colleges: Forbes ranks Va. institutions among nation's best

The University of Virginia ranked #1 for public non-service academy colleges in the country.

Forbes has published its annual list of “America’s Top Colleges” in the United States, and two Virginia institutions took top honors once again.

The University of Virginia topped the list of the best public non-service academy colleges in the country, while the College of William and Mary snagged second place.

The overall ranking list names Princeton in New Jersey as #1, Williams College in Massachusetts as #2 and Stanford University in California as #3.

The University of Virginia made #36, improving 10 spots from last year, and William and Mary made #40, which moved up nine positions.

Two other Virginia schools also ranked among the top 100 schools in the country - Washington and Lee and the University of Richmond were ranked #15 and #73.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell praised Virginia schools in the following statement released Thursday:{ }

“Virginia’s schools have had a reputation for excellence in higher education dating back to before there was a United States of America. I applaud the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary for this additional recognition as the top public non-service academy colleges in the country for 2012. The rankings focus on ‘quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt.’ Virginia schools recognize that they must continue to improve to remain national leaders in public higher education and it encourages me to see efforts to innovate and enhance the quality of higher education paying off, with both schools improving in their overall national standings. I thank the college presidents and administrators at UVA, William and Mary, and our many other outstanding colleges and universities for not only focusing on improving the quality of instruction, but for addressing the significant challenges students face regarding college affordability and access. After years of double-digit tuition increases and diminishing state funding, Virginia invested more than $200 million of new money in higher education funding in the biennial budget, and college presidents responded with the lowest tuition increases in a decade. Our work to reform will continue, and Virginia's tremendous colleges and universities will continue to remain national models for achievement in higher education in the years ahead.”

See the full list here.