Harvard's endowment may have lost 30% of its value, but the university is still on top of the world.
The school is foremost among the 500 best universities around the globe, according to the seventh annual Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by the Graduate School of Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which was released this week at an education conference in Shanghai.
In Pictures: The World's Best Universities
In Pictures: North America's Best Universities
In Pictures: Europe's Best Universities
In Pictures: Asia's Best Universities
In Pictures: Most Expensive U.S. Colleges
Since the methodology is skewed toward institutions that prioritize research and boast strong science and engineering
programs, the list is dominated by tech-heavy schools. Stanford, Berkeley, Cambridge and MIT round out the top five. Caltech,
Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon also earn high marks.
North American schools dominate the list, winning 59 of the top 100 spots. Europe is home to 32 of the top 100, and Asia home
to nine. The U.S. boasts more top schools than any other country, followed by the U.K., Japan, Germany, Canada, France,
Australia, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands. No African or South American schools crack the top 100.
Experts say the improved performance of Asian schools on these lists is a good sign of improving educational infrastructure
in the region. China's central government has publicly proclaimed ambitions to turn nine of its universities into its own
version of the Ivy League. Yet many of the region's institutions are still struggling to attain the coveted "world-class"
status awarded to many Western universities.
"It's going to take a rather long time for universities in Asia, maybe especially in China, to really get up there," said
Philip G. Altbach, director of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, an attendee at the Shanghai
conference. "And it's not only infrastructure. It's an academic culture; it's academic freedom; it's a way of organizing
higher education in which they have some ways to go. You can only go so far with pouring money into it."
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