Dec 16, 2016
Exploring College Rankings Measures, 2016 Update
Given that college rankings have continued to grow in quantity and scope, IHEP is releasing an updated comparison of five college rankings. Some publications include multiple rankings lists, focusing on specific categories of schools (i.e., research universities, liberal arts colleges) or specific topics of interest (i.e., greatest value for the money, commitment to access for low-income students). Each set of rankings has a unique audience and uses different criteria and measures to evaluate and compare institutional characteristics and performance.
This updated memo compares the measures and criteria for five college rankings publications:
- Forbes’ “America’s Top Colleges” measures student satisfaction, graduation rates, post-graduate professional and academic success, and student debt.
- Money’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” measures quality of education, affordability, outcomes, and value-added measures.
- U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges” measures undergraduate academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance, and alumni giving rate.
- Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s “Top U.S. Colleges” measure engagement, outcomes, resources, and environment.
- Washington Monthly’s “National Universities” measure social mobility, research, and service.
We plan to update this document as rankings systems make methodological or data element changes, and as new rankings lists emerge. To see the 2014 version of this memo, click here.
to read the full analysis and see how the rankings compare.