Penn State THON 2019, Final Four

The Nittany Lion dances on stage during Final Four of THON 2019 at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019.

Forbes ranked Penn State as the 117th best university in country, according to the magazine's 2019 ranking of colleges in the United States.

Examining both private and public colleges, Forbes compiled a list of the 650 best schools based on factors such as academics, experience, career success and level of student debt.

When considering University Park's merit, Forbes cited the university's Big Ten athletic program, "bustling" social scene, diversity of majors and the 2+2 program as stand-out benefits. It also referenced tuition discounts, the White Out game and Penn State's extensive alumni network.

According to Forbes, Penn State's net price is $51,572. The average student piles up $10,503 in debt and will earn an early career salary of $58,500.

While Penn State ranked 117th overall, it is the 29th best public school, according to Forbes.

Compared to its Big Ten counterparts, Penn State scored moderately high. It trailed behind five of the 14 schools in the Big Ten — including the University of Michigan, University of Maryland, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota.

In its report, Forbes included data on Penn State's enrollment, academics and costs.

According to the report, 66.5% of Penn State students are white. About 12% are "non-resident aliens," 6.4% are Asian, 6.1% are Hispanic or Latino, 4.3% are African American, 2.7% are two or more races and 1.9% of students' race or ethnicity is unknown. American Indian or Alaskan Native students and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students account for 0.1% of the student population each.

In terms of gender, male students make up 54% of the student population, while female students account for 46%.

Most students — 96% — are full-time students, while only 4% are part-time.

The university has a retention rate of 93%. Its four-year graduation rate is 67% while its six-year graduation is 85%. Roughly 64% of students receiving financial aid.

Of those who apply to Penn State, 50% are accepted. The average SAT score is between 1160 and 1340.

Topping Forbes' list was Harvard University, followed by Stanford University, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The first public university to place on the list was the University of California, Berkeley, which ranked at 13th.

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