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'Nova in U.S. News top 50 college rankings for the first time

The U.S. News & World Report 2017 "Best College" rankings are out and for the first time Villanova University is listed in the top 50 national colleges.

The Main Line Catholic school  was recently reclassified from a regional to national college based on the number of doctoral degrees it awards. It tied for the 50th spot with Penn State, Pepperdine University, and the University of Florida. Villanova had been ranked first on regional north list for the past 23 years., according to the school.

The report ranks schools for prospective students placing them in national, regional and national liberal arts categories.

"This new ranking is a significant milestone in the University's history, and is one more example of how Villanova continues to move forward academically," Villanova President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, said in a statement.

In the rankings for national liberal arts colleges, Swarthmore College tied for fourth, Haverford College was 12th, Bryn Mawr College was 31st, Bucknell University tied for 32nd, Lafayette College tied for 36th, Dickinson College tied for 41st, and Franklin and Marshall tied for 47th.

In the north regional college rankings, the College of New Jersey, at No. 3, and the University of Scranton, which tied for sixth, were the only area schools to crack the top 10. St. Joseph's University moved up four spots into 11th place in the group.