College rankings: A different perspective

In compiling its 2013 rankings of top colleges and universities, Washington Monthly Magazine says it was aiming "to identify institutions that are acting on behalf of the true public interest." The result is a list that includes schools not on more publicized rankings.

The magazine says it has rated higher-education institutions "based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country)."

The top 10 institutions in their National University rankings include five from California.

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