Governor McDonnell issued the following statement following the release of Forbes' annual "America's Top Colleges" report, which found the University of Virginia and William and Mary ranking No. 2 and No. 6 for public non-service academy colleges. Virginia Military Institute also ranked among the top public schools at No. 17. The University of Virginia improved 7 positions in the overall rankings to No. 29 this year. While Washington and Lee (No. 21), College of William and Mary (No. 44), Virginia Military Institute (No.87), and the University of Richmond (No.88) all ranked in the nation's top 100. Virginia Tech, James Madison University, Hampden-Sydney College and George Mason University all ranked in the nation's top 200. All together, 22 Virginia schools were included in the "America's Top Colleges" report. The Forbes rankings are based on 'quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt.'
"Virginia's higher education system is one of the best in the nation and the world. I congratulate the University of Virginia and the college of William and Mary for once again proving to be leaders among our nation's public non-service academy colleges. I applaud the work of all of our college presidents who have recognized that Virginia schools must continue to improve in order to remain national leaders in public higher education. Together with the General Assembly and our great college presidents we have made significant new investments in higher education that will reap benefits for Virginians for years to come. After years of double-digit tuition increases and cuts in state funding, we have invested more than $200 million into higher education funding and our colleges have responded by last year posting the lowest average yearly tuition increases in a decade. At the same time, they are expanding accessibility and have added 3,800 new slots for in-state undergraduate students in just the last two years. Virginia's colleges continue to become more affordable and accessible for Virginia's students. We know that a high quality education is essential for the high quality, high paying jobs of the future. We must continue to invest in higher education while implementing smart reforms and innovations to ensure that Virginia's distinguished colleges and universities will continue to lead the nation."