WEST POINT, N.Y.: A report released Aug. 11 by Forbes ranked the U.S. Military Academy at West Point fourth in the country in their annual ranking of America’s Best Colleges.

“West Point is again honored and pleased to be selected as one of America’s top five best colleges. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our exceptional cadets, faculty and staff operating in world-class facilities. This excellence, as recognized by Forbes, is a key element in preparing our cadets for the challenges they will face as future Army officers,” said West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. David Huntoon.

“We review just nine percent of the 6,600 accredited post-secondary institutions in the U.S., so appearing on our list at all is an indication that a school meets a high standard,” Forbes stated in their release.

Forbes uses more than 10 factors in compiling these rankings, with no single factor counting as much as 20 percent. The rankings are objectively determined, with the only subjective judgments being those of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and Forbes as to which factors to include and the weights to be used in evaluating each factor.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity in conjunction with Forbes, compiled its college rankings using five general categories, with several components within each general category. The weightings are listed below:

1. Student Satisfaction 27.5 percent
2. Postgraduate Success 30 percent
3. Student Debt 17.5 percent
4. Four-year Graduation Rate 17.5 percent
5. Competitive Awards 7.5 percent

Also, U.S. News & World Report announced its “2011 America’s Best Colleges Rankings” this week and ranked West Point the “Top Public Liberal Arts College” for the third consecutive year.

West Point was also named the third-best “Undergraduate Engineering Program,” where a doctorate is not offered, tying with Cooper Union (N.Y.). Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Ind., and Harvey Mudd College, Calif., were first and second, respectively.

In the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs category, West Point’s Civil Engineering Program was ranked second, Mechanical was tied for second and Electrical tied-for third.

“We are very pleased with U.S. News & World Report’s acknowledgment of the quality of the educational experience at West Point,” said Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Tim Trainor. “We are proud of our nationally renowned curriculum and the well-earned recognition our engineering program receives from independent organizations.”

The engineering rankings are based solely on a spring 2010 peer survey of deans and senior faculty that asked them to rate each program they are familiar with on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). West Point’s average was 4.1.

Out of 266 liberal arts colleges that U.S. News categorized as awarding more than half of their degrees in the arts and sciences, West Point was listed as tied for 16th-best Liberal Arts College overall, when combining both private and public colleges. Williams College, Mass., was ranked number one.

In other categories U.S. News ranked West Point second in The High School Counselors’ Picks. West Point was also ranked second in two categories under Key Criteria in Judging Schools, Lowest Acceptance Rate and Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20.