UNC Asheville Rises to Seventh Nationally Among Public Liberal Arts Universities in New Rankings from U.S. News and World Report

Ramsey Library and the UNC Asheville Quad
September 14, 2020

UNC Asheville has moved up a notch and is now ranked seventh in the nation among public liberal arts universities in U.S. News and World Report’s new “2021 U.S. News Best Colleges,” released online today. UNC Asheville shares that seventh-place ranking with the University of Minnesota Morris. The full rankings and descriptions are available online at usnews.com/best-colleges.

UNC Asheville has historically been highly rated by U.S. News. Last year, the University was tied for eighth place nationally in the Public Liberal Arts category, and each of the last two years, U.S. News has included UNC Asheville in its “web-exclusive” list of schools supporting “Social Mobility.” The social mobility ranking is computed from two ranking factors assessing graduation rates of Pell-awarded students.

Additionally, UNC Asheville is included on the lists of Undergraduate Business Programs, Undergraduate Engineering Programs, and U.S. News’ first-ever list of Undergraduate Computer Science Programs.

According to U.S. News, 80% of a school’s ranking in the National Liberal Arts category “is based on a formula that uses statistical measures of academic quality, such as graduation rates, social mobility, faculty information and admissions data… The remaining 20% of the rankings is based on academic reputation, determined by a peer assessment from top academics at colleges.”

The U.S. News ranking follows on the heels of UNC Asheville’s inclusion by The Princeton Review in The Best 386 Colleges, published in August. UNC Asheville scored 93 out of 100 in “Quality of Life,” and 91 out of 100 in the “Green” rating by The Princeton Review, in addition to being included on several national top-20 lists: LGBTQ-Friendly, Least Religious Students, Most Politically Active Students, Town-Gown Relations Are Great, and College City Gets High Marks.

The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2021, also issued in August, said that “all the ingredients for a superior college experience lie in wait at Asheville: strong academics, dedicated professors, and an administration that continues to push for excellence.” Forbes included the University in its recent publication, “America’s Best College Values.”

UNC Asheville is now accepting applications for the fall 2021 semester, with a Nov. 1 deadline for early decision. For more information about UNC Asheville, including the now virtual Discovery Day open houses on Sept. 26 and Oct. 24, visit unca.edu/admission/visit.


For nearly a century, UNC Asheville has guided global explorers—our students, faculty, alumni, friends, and community partners—to discover what they love, break new paths, and remake the world. Asheville’s University serves the people of North Carolina, the region, and beyond—by producing leaders and thinkers who enrich our economy and our community. UNC Asheville ranks as one of the nation’s top 10 public liberal arts universities and a top 20 employer in Asheville, with an annual economic impact of $450 million. Enrolling 3,600 students and offering more than 30 undergraduate majors, UNC Asheville is a higher education destination driven by an unwavering commitment to an education that is adaptive, authentic, and endlessly relevant to our vibrant city, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the world. Learn more at unca.edu.