Chapman University in Orange, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton all slipped in this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings, but the schools remain among the best in the nation in their categories.

The report, released Tuesday, showed an increase in scores at two of Orange County’s smaller schools, which could be due to an updated methodology that ranked graduation performance; in previous years the category didn’t apply to regional schools.

Article Tab: image1-O.C. schools score high in national college rankings

At a glance

UC Irvine: No. 49 in nation; No. 14 of U.S. public universities

Chapman University: No. 7 of regional universities in the west

Cal State Fullerton: No. 35 of regional universities in the west

Concordia University: No. 63 of regional universities in the west

Soka University of America: No. 41 of national liberal arts universities

Hope International University: No. 22 of regional colleges in the west

Vanguard University: No. 10 of regional colleges in the west

Argosy University: unranked

Anaheim University: not listed

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Chapman dropped from sixth to seventh as best regional university in the West. Regional is a designation given to schools that focus on undergraduate programs, the magazine stated.

Chapman President James Doti was pleased by the rankings, particularly Chapman’s spot as the No. 1 up-and-coming school in the West. Chapman has held that rank for the past three years.

“We’re pleased to be in that category every year,” Doti said. “It’s quite an accolade.”

The U.S. News and World Report rates colleges and universities based on 16 indicators of excellence, including student SAT scores, grade point average, retention and graduation rates, and more.

UC Irvine dropped from No. 44 to No. 49 in the nation for schools offering a full range of undergraduate programs, as well as master’s and Ph.D. programs. The campus is No. 14 of public universities nationally, down two over last year.

UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon attributed the drop to large class sizes and an increase in the number of students accepted with lower SAT scores.

“We’re still very proud to be in the top 50,” Lawhon said.

UC Berkeley moved up one spot to No. 20 nationally and is No. 1 in public schools across the country. Princeton, Harvard and Yale universities took the top three spots overall nationwide.

In Los Angeles, USC and UCLA both ranked No. 23 in the national schools category, up one from last year. USC ranked No. 10 in up-and-coming schools.

Cal State Fullerton dropped four spots to No. 35 in regional universities in the West. However, the school is No. 7 among public regional universities in the West.

Concordia University in Irvine ranked No. 63 in regional universities in the West, up three over last year.

“We are pleased with our progress,” said Mary Scott, executive vice president of Concordia.

Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo made the biggest leap in Orange County, moving up eight spots to No. 41 in national liberal arts universities, schools that focus on undergraduate education and give at least half their degrees in arts and sciences.

“Considering we’re only 12 years old, it’s phenomenal,” said Soka University spokeswoman Wendy Harder.

Hope International University in Fullerton and Vanguard University both retained last year’s rank – Hope International at No. 22 and Vanguard No. 10 in regional colleges in the West.

Argosy University was not ranked and Anaheim University was not listed this year or last.