As much as colleges and universities hate them, rankings from U.S. News & World Report influence how prospective students choose a school, according to a 2014 report from the American Educational Research Association.
The magazine annually rates more than 1,600 four-year colleges and universities on 15 indicators of academic quality.
Criteria include academic excellence, student selectivity and financial resources of the school. Thirty percent of a school's score is based on graduation and retention rates.
Here are the top 10 national universities as determined by U.S. News.
A school is considered a national university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching if it offers a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees. There are 280 national universities in the country, including 172 public schools, 101 private schools, and 7 for-profits schools, according to Carnegie.
All of but one of the schools in the periodical's top 10 list of national universities from last year made the grade this time. (Sorry, Caltech.)
Schools are rated by total weighted score of the 15 indicators. Those tied at the same rank are listed alphabetically.
Check out the full list here.
— By CNBC's Tom Anderson
Posted 13 Sept. 2016