Forbes says its list is different from other rankings because it focuses on the value of a college education.
Williams College in western Massachusetts is ranked first. Forbes says many of the students there go on to earn prestigious awards and high-paying jobs, making the $55,000 annual cost worth it.
Princeton ranks second, followed by the West Point, Amherst, and then Stanford.
Two other Bay Area universities made the top 100 -- Santa Clara University ranks 67 and UC Berkeley is 70th.