These universities are funded primarily through student tuition fees, which are generally higher than those of public universities. Accordingly, private universities generally have better staff-to-student ratios and more income for resources, which may be one reason why they rank higher than the public universities in the country.
All the universities in the prestigious Ivy League group are private universities.
We’ve pulled together the top 100 private colleges in the US, based on data from the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2018. Private universities also dominated the top 100 of the overall ranking.
The majority of private universities in the US are not for profit.
The WSJ/THE US College ranking is a more student-centred ranking owing to the emphasis on student outcomes and student engagement. The results of the THE US Student Survey of more than 200,000 students are incorporated into the analysis. The full methodology can be found here.
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It’s no surprise that Harvard University topped this list, considering that it also took the top spot in the overall WSJ/THE US College Ranking 2018. Harvard has also been a mainstay at the top of the THE Reputation Ranking for the past six years.
The cost of attending Harvard is high, with tuition fees averaging about $43,000 a year. However the university offers generous financial aid packages for less-advantaged students.
According to the university’s website, it has stepped up financial aid since 2007 by 75 per cent, now offering about $170 million per year to students. In fact, 50 per cent of students receive financial aid.
Columbia University is divided into 20 schools including three undergraduate schools and graduate schools in law, education and business.
According to New York magazine, Columbia University is the second-largest landowner in New York City, after the Catholic Church.
Students are guaranteed on-campus housing for all four years as undergraduate students.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has more than 500 recognised student activity groups. One of these is the student newspaper, The Tech, which has both an online and print publication.
MIT also sponsors 31 varsity sports and has one of the broadest NCAA Division III athletic programmes.
MIT has never awarded an honorary degree, nor does it award athletic scholarships. It has only twice awarded honorary professorships, to former British prime minister Winston Churchill in 1949 and author Salman Rushdie in 1993.
Since 2013, the university has been organised into seven academic schools: humanitites and sciences; engineering; earth, energy and environmental sciences; law; business; education; medicine.
The schools of education, business, law and medicine provide graduate programmes only.
The university is one of the top fundraising universities in the US. In 2012, it became the first school to raise more than $1 billion in a year.
Duke University students are expected to live on campus for the first three years of their undergraduate degree. This requirement was introduced to help students connect with each other and to foster a sense of community within the student body.
About 30 per cent of undergraduate men and approximately 40 per cent of undergraduate women at Duke are members of fraternities and sororities.
The university is well known for having a high student-to-staff ratio and 70 per cent of classes have fewer than 19 students.
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Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2018 profile
|WSJ/THE US College Rank 2018||Private University Rank 2018||University||City||State|
|2||2||Columbia University||New York||New York|
|=3||=3||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge||Massachusetts|
|5||5||Duke University||Durham||North Carolina|
|6||6||Yale University||New Haven||Connecticut|
|7||7||California Institute of Technology||Pasadena||California|
|8||8||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|9||9||Princeton University||Princeton||New Jersey|
|10||10||Cornell University||Ithaca||New York|
|=11||=11||Brown University||Providence||Rhode Island|
|=11||=11||University of Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|=11||=11||Washington University in St Louis||Saint Louis||Missouri|
|=15||=15||University of Southern California||Los Angeles||California|
|=17||=17||Dartmouth College||Hanover||New Hampshire|
|=17||=17||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore||Maryland|
|20||20||Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania|
|24||24||University of Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Indiana|
|29||27||New York University||New York||New York|
|34||31||Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||Ohio|
|35||32||Claremont McKenna College||Claremont||California|
|44||39||University of Miami||Coral Gables||Florida|
|49||41||Bryn Mawr College||Bryn Mawr||Pennsylvania|
|51||43||University of Rochester||Rochester||New York|
|52||44||Wake Forest University||Winston-Salem||North Carolina|
|54||45||Davidson College||Davidson||North Carolina|
|55||46||Colgate University||Hamilton||New York|
|60||48||Boston College||Chestnut Hill||Massachusetts|
|=61||=49||Hamilton College||Clinton||New York|
|=61||=49||University of Richmond||University of Richmond||Virginia|
|64||52||George Washington University||Washington||DC|
|=66||=54||Vassar College||Poughkeepsie||New York|
|=71||58||Tulane University||New Orleans||Louisiana|
|73||59||Washington and Lee University||Lexington||Virginia|
|74||60||Barnard College||New York||New York|
|77||62||Mount Holyoke College||South Hadley||Massachusetts|
|78||63||Macalester College||Saint Paul||Minnesota|
|79||64||Trinity University||San Antonio||Texas|
|81||65||Southern Methodist University||Dallas||Texas|
|83||66||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester||Massachusetts|
|=84||=67||College of the Holy Cross||Worcester||Massachusetts|
|=87||=70||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Troy||New York|
|=89||72||Franklin & Marshall College||Lancaster||Pennsylvania|
|91||73||Occidental College||Los Angeles||California|
|92||74||Union College||Schenectady||New York|
|=96||=77||University of Denver||Denver||Colorado|
|=102||=81||Connecticut College||New London||Connecticut|
|=102||=81||Rhode Island School of Design||Providence||Rhode Island|
|=105||=84||Saint Louis University||Saint Louis||Missouri|
|=105||=84||The College of Wooster||Wooster||Ohio|
|108||86||Syracuse University||Syracuse||New York|
|=111||89||Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||Terre Haute||Indiana|
|=113||=90||Brigham Young University-Provo||Provo||Utah|
|=115||=92||Wheaton College (Massachusetts)||Norton||Massachusetts|
|=117||94||University of the Pacific||Stockton||California|
|119||95||Yeshiva University||New York||New York|
|=120||=96||Colorado College||Colorado Springs||Colorado|
|=125||99||Illinois Institute of Technology||Chicago||Illinois|
Read more: Best public universities in the US