TIME’s Money Magazine Releases Controversial College Rankings Report

For a long time, a handful of companies (e.g. the Princeton Review and the U.S. World News & Report) had a virtual monopoly over U.S. college rankings reports, the New York Times reported. In such rankings, a couple dozen prestigious schools shuffled around the top spots, and it was no real surprise to anyone who they were.

These schools appeared so often in the top spots because the ranking criteria included mostly things at which they excelled: academic and research acumen, campus culture, and the like.

TIME’s publication, Money Magazine, subverts that tradition by focusing on different ranking factors. Among the most notable criteria are affordability and long-term earnings, factors becoming increasingly important to students and parents in a recovering economy.

All told, Money reviewed around 1,500 4-year colleges and universities. Among them, the report identifies which offer the “biggest bank for your buck.” The study ranked schools according to 17 different factors across three categories, which were each given equal weight: educational quality, affordability and earnings.

The report caused quite a stir, since colleges like Webb Institute (which enrolls a grand total of 80 students) beat out several familiar Ivy League names, like Harvard and Princeton.

In a continuously tough economic climate, this study highlights what seems to really matter to folks, despite its accompanying controversy – and that’s no longer just prestige; it’s money in the bank, too.

“Building a Better College Ranking System. Wait, Babson Beats Harvard?” nytimes.com, July 29, 2014, Kevin Carey, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/upshot/building-a-better-college-ranking-system-babson-beats-harvard.html
“ETC College Rankings Index,” jobsearchintelligence.com, http://www.jobsearchintelligence.com/etc/college-rankings.php
“MONEY’S BEST COLLEGES: Top 50 Colleges At a Glance,” time.com, July, 2014, http://time.com/money/3024906/moneys-best-colleges-top-50/

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