15 March 2018
University rankings have tended to emphasise research or indicators such as resources, selectivity and reputation. In addition to research the Washington Post college rankings in the USA attempt to measure contributions to the public good. Indicators include the number of students joining the Peace Corps and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), federal funds spent on service, graduation rates, and the percentage of students receiving Pell grants.
The overall rankings show that some major research universities perform well, with Stanford, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) taking the top three places. However, less well-known places do well in special categories. The Best Colleges for Adult Learners are Golden Gate University San Francisco, the University of Utah and Concordia University Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The “Best Bang for the Buck” places in various regions are Harvard, College of the Ozarks, Missouri, Berea College, Kentucky, Washington and Lee University, Virginia, and the University of Washington Tacoma.
The magazine is now proposing to rank colleges by their efforts to prepare students to become democratic citizens. The rankings will take note of whether colleges take part in Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLYE), and whether they publicly release this data, and the ALL IN campus democracy challenge, an attempt to increase student voting.