Surprise: America's "Top College" Is in L.A.

Despite our air-headed reputation, Greater L.A. has no shortage of great institutions of higher learning. In recent years the British publication Times Higher Education has named Pasadena's Caltech the best university on the planet.

UCLA and USC aren't bad, either. 

But if you ask the money-obsessed journalists at Forbes which college is the tops in the United States of America, they will tell you it's a small, private school right here in L.A. County.

They looked at metrics such as student satisfaction, class and lab sizes, graduation times, graduation rates and financial aid packages, and they just named Pomona College "this year’s No. 1 FORBES Top College" (capitalization theirs).

"Our focus is on the individual student-consumer," the magazine says.

But why Pomona?

Forbes notes that it's, like, smaller than your high school, with a "population" of 1,610. The private liberal arts school established in 1887, part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, will charge your wealthy parents dearly for the intimacy, though.

The annual cost, including housing and books, is estimated to be $62,632, which is higher than the median household income in L.A.

"The debate about whether U.S. higher education is worth the price is over when it comes to these outstanding colleges," Forbes says in a statement. (In other words, there is no debate if you have the means, dahling.)

In a statement, Pomona College notes that it has been ranked second and eighth in the nation by Forbes in recent years.

The magazine's top 10 is rounded out by Williams College (2), Stanford (3), Princeton (4), Yale (5), Harvard (6), Swarthmore College (7), Brown (8), Amherst College (9) and MIT (10).

Surprise: America's "Top College" Is in L.A.

The list clearly favors small, expensive liberal arts schools that cling to the coasts. L.A.'s big hitters, Caltech (33), UCLA (45) and USC (71), barely registered.

Forbes noted that, at No. 35, UC Berkeley was its top-rated public university (if you must). Claremont McKenna College, an L.A. County cousin of Pomona College, made No. 18.

Of course, other college rankings, particularly those from Times Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report, beg to differ.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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