LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
— The nation’s top private universities rank as the best in the world for higher education, according to a report released Monday.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) said the U.S. ranked No. 2, followed by Britain, India, Canada and Australia.
It said the rankings represent an improvement over previous years.
The ranking is based on the value of degrees earned by graduates from U.K. and Canadian universities, followed closely by those from the U to the U and U.N. The U.C. Berkeley study looked at degrees awarded by 1,000 graduates in the United States from each of the four major institutions, including elite universities such as Harvard and Yale.
It also looked at graduates from private, for-profit universities.
Among the top-ranked universities were Princeton University, the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University at Buffalo.
It was the third consecutive year that Princeton ranked among the top 10, followed last year by Harvard, which took the No. 1 spot.
Only Princeton ranked lower than the U-ranked University of Virginia.
Overall, the U, the world’s second-largest economy, ranked No., behind China, at No. 7.
China has grown rapidly in the past decade and now has the world second-highest number of people with degrees, according the report.
In Canada, the province with the highest percentage of graduates is Alberta, at 50.3 percent.
The province has seen a rapid increase in its economy, particularly in industries like technology, the report said.
But the top two countries in terms of students were the United Kingdom, at 45.7 percent, and Australia, at 46.4 percent.
According to the report, the average degree awarded per person in each country is now worth about $1,700.
More than 1 million students, who are also employed in jobs, live in the U., which is the second-most populous nation in the western world.
For graduates in Australia, who have graduated in the top 5 percent of the population, the median net worth is about $120,000, according U.B.A. data.