Amid increasing criticism from educators of U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings, Princeton has been ranked No. 1 among national universities for the eighth straight year. Harvard and Yale ranked second and third, respectively, as they did last year.

The magazine’s rankings, released in August, also placed Princeton first in the categories of alumni giving and of students graduating with the least debt (26 percent of the Class of 2005, with an average of $4,370 each). Princeton ranked second behind Harvard for “best value,” with 52 percent of undergraduates in 2006–2007 receiving financial aid that discounted the total cost by an average of 63 percent. But with fewer than 8 percent of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants for low-income students in 2005–2006, Princeton was tied for 24th among 26 top-ranked universities for economic diversity.

In other publications, Princeton was named “hottest school for liberal arts” by Newsweek. It was top-ranked in the categories of “school runs like butter” and “students happy with financial aid” by the Princeton Review and was ranked 78th by Washington Monthly, which focuses on social mobility, research, and community service.

In a statement, Princeton officials said they were “gratified” by the high rankings but suggested that college-bound students should use a variety of resources to find the best match.