ST. LOUIS — More than 20 Missouri schools are among U.S. News & World Report's 2020 ranking of the best colleges, as well as a top 20 ranking for Washington University. In addition, we included four Illinois schools (those in the St. Louis region) in our slideshow ranking, based on U.S. News & World Report data.

The fall 2019 semester is off to a good start at Lindenwood University, which had an increase in first-time students and applications for admission.

When ranking its national universities category, U.S. News & World Report examines schools that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs, and those that emphasize faculty research or award professional practice doctorates.

Thirteen schools in Missouri rank among the top 650 colleges and universities in the nation, according to a new ranking from Forbes. At least four that ranked on the list from Illinois are in the St. Louis MSA. Washington University in St.

The regional universities ranking features schools that offer a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master's degree programs, but few doctoral programs, U.S. News & World Report said. The regional universities are ranked in four geographical groups: North, South, Midwest and West.

Click here to see which schools made the cut.

Missouri's average student loan debt per borrower increased from $26,834 in 2017 to $29,223 in 2018, according to an annual report by LendEDU. Nationally, student loan debt is $1.52 trillion, the report said. The New Jersey based financial services website analyzed student loan debt figures from nearly 1,000 four-year private and public higher education institutions nationwide.

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