For the longest time, U.S. News & World Report was considered THE college rankings system. Every Fall, a “new” list would be released, which would almost always put Harvard was the best college in America. Every once in a while, it would tie with Princeton. Those rankings were based on many factors, including SAT scores, acceptance rates, and graduation rates. But it did not include many other factors that are becoming increasingly important to families and students: costs.
A new college ranking list has now been developed and released by Money Magazine. It also uses the previous ranking elements, but this time also include how long students actually take to graduate and the ‘net price’ of each college, combined with the salaries that graduates can expect.
Money Magazine describes it as:
“To find out which of the nation’s roughly 1,500 four-year colleges offer the most bang for your tuition buck, MONEY screened out those with a below-average graduation rate and then ranked the 665 that remained on 17 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings provided by PayScale.com. Included: a “value added” grade that rated each college in light of the economic and academic profile of its student body and the mix of majors at that school. We then used a statistical technique to turn all the data points into a single score on a five-point scale and rated them accordingly. These schools went to the head of the class:”
2. Webb Institute (NY)
4. Princeton (NJ)
5. Stanford (CA)
6. Harvard (MA)
7. Harvey Mudd College (CA)
8. Cooper Union (NY)
9. Brigham Young (UT)
10. California Institute of Technology
The Texas colleges on the list include:
20. Rice University (in Houston)
24. Texas A&M University (College Station)
The Best Public Universities List includes:
6. Texas A&M (College Station)
17. University of Texas (Austin)
The only Texas colleges on the best Private university list is Rice at #16. There are no Texas colleges on the Most Affordable List or the Best Liberal Arts Colleges list.
The most helpful part of this new listing is the 4 lessons that Money Magazine also published:
Lesson 1: Sticker Price Is Not a Gauge of Quality or How Much a School Really Costs
Lesson 2: A High-Quality Education Pays Off in More Ways Than You Might Expect
Lesson 3: It’s Not What or Where You Study – It’s Both
Lesson 4: Career Services Are Becoming More Important
In the end, of course, all the data in the world won’t matter if the student doesn’t fit into campus life and feel motivated to take advantage of a college’s resources, which is why the services of a college consultant can help save families money and time by researching and selecting colleges that are a good “fit” for each student.