By Nick Anderson
August 25, 2014  at 12:01 AM

The top universities in the latest rankings look much the same as they did a year ago, with only slight ups and downs.

No, we’re not talking about Princeton, Harvard and Yale and where they stand atop U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of national universities. If you want to know how the elites stack up this year in the famed U.S. News ranking, you’ll have to wait until Sept. 9.

Rather, the subject here is the Washington Monthly’s 2014 list of top national universities. The Monthly, a policy magazine for wonks and insiders, has ranked universities since 2005 on how much good they do for the country. It uses measures such as the social mobility that schools provide students, the research output of faculty and students, and the degree to which students engage in public service.

The metrics are arbitrary, of course, but so are those of U.S. News.

The Monthly’s top national universities this year, with last year’s rank in parentheses, are:

1) University of California at San Diego (first in 2013)

2) University of California at Riverside (second)

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