Virginia Tech and Radford University rose slightly in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of colleges released this week.

Tech gained two spots, rising from 76th to 74th nationally among all colleges and universities. Among public schools, Tech ranks 30th, the same as last year. It has been as high as 25th in the past.

Radford rose six spots in the category ranking public regional universities in the South, where it regularly appears, from 18th to 12th. The school is tied at 28th for regional universities in the south overall with Jacksonville University in Florida and the University of Tennessee-Martin.

The rankings are based on a variety of metrics including graduation rates, faculty information and reputation as determined by academic peers.

The closely followed U.S. News & World Report list is considered a definitive ranking in higher education. The criteria for the rankings, which include reputation, alumni giving and graduation rates, often drive university policy as schools work to improve their spot on the list.

The annual report annually assesses more than 18,000 schools across the U.S. and ranks about 300 of them. Separate lists, such as best liberal arts colleges, best-value schools and best undergraduate business programs, are also distributed.

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