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University maintains number two spot

For the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University as the No. 2 national public university. The University of California-Berkeley maintained their position at No. 1.

The University topped University of California-Los Angeles, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The University also placed 23rd in the top 50 national universities, dropping two spots from last years' ranking of No. 21.

The University trails the University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University and Vanderbilt University that rank at positions 20, 21 and 22, respectively.

In the past, the University has vied with Berkeley for the coveted top position.

In 1999, the two public institutions tied for the No. 1 spot. The University took second to Berkely in 2000, tied for first again in 2001, but then dropped to second again last year.

This year, Princeton University ranked No. 1 in the top 50 national institutions, with Harvard University and Yale University following at second and third, respectively.

The magazine's editors base their rankings on various factors they believe affect students' education. These include student retention, faculty resources, financial resources and graduation rates.

The results were seen by students in both an optimistic and pessimistic light.

"The new ranking shows what we all knew would be true, and that is that U.Va. is one of the top universities in the nation -- public or otherwise," Honor Committee Chairman Christopher Smith said.

But others believe the results stem from the effects of recent Virginia budget cuts.

"I am unwilling to put too much stock into this type of ranking," Student Council President Micah Schwartz said. "At the same time, hopefully this will send a message to the legislators in Richmond: This is what happens when you underfund higher education."

Despite the budget crisis, the University still holds the No. 2 spot, speaking to the effectiveness and efficiency of the administration, Schwartz added.

Some students have different opinions on the weight and importance of the rankings.

"I think you can't get much out of an overall ranking like that," fourth-year College student Drew Gower said.

Others feel that the rankings often are valuable to students applying to college.

The rankings "have an effect on high school seniors when deciding where to go to school," second-year College student Allison Moorman said.

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