13 July 2017
The magazine Money, published by Time Inc, specialises in personal finance. It produces annual rankings of American colleges based on their ability to provide a return on investment. Colleges are ranked according to 27 indicators including scores for the SAT and ACT tests, costs, graduation rates, student faculty ratio, financial sustainability, debt, loan repayment and graduate employment. There are also several value-added metrics that take account of standardised test scores and the number of students from poor families.
A total of 711 institutions were ranked. Criteria for inclusion were having an enrollment at least 500 students, availability of reliable data, meeting requirements with regard to graduation rates, and not being in financial difficulties.
The rankings show that while the traditional elite of US higher education such as Princeton and Harvard do well some less well-known institutions including Washington and Lee university, the University of Florida and the College of New Jersey also get high scores. Together they make up a new “paycheck league”.
Five of the top ten colleges are in California and four in the Northeast. Many of the institutions that offer the least value for money are historically Black colleges, small religious schools or art colleges.
The top five institutionsare:
- Princeton University
- City University of New York Bernard MBaruch College
- University of Michigan Ann Arbor
- University of California Berkeley
- University of California Los Angeles.
The rankings have an interactive feature that allows users to rank colleges according to the various indicators. The top five for SAT or ACT scores are:
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- University of Chicago
- Vanderbilt University
- Harvard University
- Yale University.
The top five for early career earnings are:
- Harvey Mudd College
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Stanford University
- Carnegie Mellon University.