Stony Brook University has attained its highest ranking in the annual top 100 list of national universities since the list began to be published in 2004, according to the 2013 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges report released earlier this month.

SBU ranked 92nd among U.S. universities that, according to U.S. News, are typically large institutions that focus on research and grant bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university was also ranked the 40th best public university in the country.

In the category of schools whose graduates have the least amount of debt, SBU ranked 47th—its best standing in the category, according to a university press release. SBU students graduate with an average $20,371 in debt.

University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said that number is an indicator that “our students are reaping the benefits” of choosing SBU.

“They get good paying jobs after graduation, they are not burdened with a major amount of debt, and these factors really underscore the value of a Stony Brook degree,” he said.

SBU is the only college on Long Island on the top 100 list and it has the third-best ranking among State University of New York schools. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry is ranked 77th, and Binghamton University is ranked 89th.

Last year, SBU ranked 111th. Its highest standing before this year was 96th in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Stanley said in a press release that the results are “a testament to the hard work and dedicated efforts of our faculty and staff.”

The report ranks the institutions based on several indicators of excellence, including graduation rates, freshman retention and the strength of the faculty. Critics say the report is not credible because it ranks schools based on their reputation and many of them manipulate numbers to bump themselves in the rankings.

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“It’s the same ol’ same ol’ names,” said Lynn O’Shaughnessy of CBS Money Watch in an article earlier this month. “No one knows how many colleges and universities fib when they complete their college rankings surveys.”

Harvard and Princeton Universities tied for first place on the list.

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