Washington Monthly Releases Controversial ‘Worst’ Colleges List The 2014 edition of the Washington Monthly that rates and ranks the nation’s colleges will be slightly different this year. The publication is rating the nation’s worst colleges this year and is using the high tuition, low graduation rates and high rates of student debt as a means to rate and rank the nation’s schools. Ferrum College is a prime example of Washington Monthly’s point of displaying the worst colleges for potential students. Ferrum is a rather small liberal arts school in the south of Virginia. This private institution accepts a great many of the students that apply each year, but oddly enough the amount of students that actually return for subsequent years of schooling is rather dismal. Why is this? There seems to be a pretty valid reason for Ferrum College to rank in the magazine’s list of worst colleges and a reason for students to opt for a different school. According to the data that Washington Monthly uses, the students that attend Ferrum, borrow more money, graduate far less often and are more prone to defaulting on their student loans. According to NPR, Ferrum College’s spokesperson has said that the school has opted to “take the high road” rather than respond. This seems to have started a trend since none of the other schools on the list felt compelled to respond either. It’s definitely a bit of a controversial move to actually label colleges as the “worst,” but we certainly can understand where Washington Monthly is coming from. College is expensive, student debt is sky high and it is getting harder to find jobs even with a college degree. When you compound all of those factors and add poor graduation rates and less than stellar academic standard – it’s easy to see how a ranking system like this would speak to potential students and ultimately make a difference.