AZUSA, Calif.Forbes ranks Azusa Pacific University among the best schools in the nation for 2013. The 650 colleges listed represent the top 20 percent of all undergraduate institutions. APU ranks 365, up from last year’s 456.

Forbes partners with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), a Washington DC think tank, to determine rankings. CCAP takes a unique approach to ranking colleges by excluding the reputation of the institution as voted on by faculty of other universities. Instead, the focus is concerns that affect incoming students. Eleven factors falling into one of five categories form the ranking’s foundation.

CCAP measures levels of graduates’ success in their chosen professions based on their average salaries. Freshman-to-sophomore retention rates and student evaluations on websites such as ratemyprofessor.com are examined to determine student satisfaction with their college experience. CCAP also looks at the amount of debt students accrue during their college careers, considering the four-year debt load for a typical student borrower and the overall student loan default rate. They evaluate students’ four-year completion, considering the actual graduation rate and the gap between average and predicted rate. Finally, schools are rewarded for the number of students who win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the National Science Foundation, and the Fulbright, or go on to earn a doctorate.

For a complete breakdown of APU’s ranking visit, forbes.com/top-college/.