College rankings war heats up as Washington Monthly releases lists … – University Business

Paul Glastris, the editor in chief of Washington Monthly, one of the many publications with annual college rankings, proclaimed boldly that “America needs a new definition of higher education excellence, one that measures what colleges do for their country, instead of for themselves.” He specifically called out U.S. News & World Report for having an elite-driven system of ratings.
U.S. News rewards colleges for their wealth, prestige, and exclusivity, thereby aggravating America’s racial and class divides, whereas the Monthly ranks schools based on very different criteria meant to do the opposite,” Glastris said. Even at the top of its new report, it says their rival’s rankings are “crude and easily manipulated,” shown by cases involving Columbia University and Temple University.
With those challenges levied, Washington Monthly released its best-of lists on Monday in an effort to highlight those that drive the “public good” through research and public service, with a huge lean to social mobility. Though it will be another two weeks before U.S. News releases its rankings, there are likely to be differences. But how much different will they be?
At No. 1 on Washington Monthly’s National University list this year is Stanford University (an institution that landed at No. 5 in U.S. News in 2022). Stanford rated well on social mobility, net price of income of those earning less than $75,000 and had a stellar 96% eight-year graduation rate. Five Ivy League schools made the top 10, including Penn at No. 2, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Cornell. MIT, which was No. 3 in U.S. News rankings, was also No. 3 on Washington Monthly’s list. Duke University came in at No. 5. Two outliers from Washington Monthly included UC-Berkeley at No. 9 and the University of Notre Dame at No. 10. It is worth noting that Cornell did not crack the U.S. News Top 10 last year, but Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Chicago and Caltech did, because of ties.
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Where there likely will be divergence is in the next tier, led in Washington Monthly ranking by the University of California, Davis (No. 11) and Dartmouth College (No. 12). Caltech did make it in at No. 14, but Brigham Young (No. 13), Georgetown University (No. 15), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (No. 16), the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (No. 17), National Louis University (No. 18), the University of Washington at Seattle (No. 19) and UC-San Diego (No. 20) all made it into the Top 20. None of them made it that high on U.S. News’ list last year.
National Louis, located in Illinois, might not have the research prowess of say, Johns Hopkins, or even graduate 55% of its students after eight years, but its No. 4 spot overall on social mobility vaulted it in among the best institutions. The University of Washington at Seattle scored well in all three big categories (social mobility No. 60, research No. 13 and public service No. 42).
In addition to its National University categories, Washington Monthly included several other rankings, including best Liberal Arts Colleges, where it focuses on “bachelor’s degrees over professional programs.” Topping that list are two from California – Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College – followed by Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Washington and Lee University in Virginia and Barea College in Kentucky. Williams College, which came in No. 1 in last year’s U.S. News ranking, was sixth on Washington Monthly’s list.
Evergreen State College in Washington led its list of top Master’s Universities. The State University of New York at Geneseo was second, followed by Cal State University-Los Angeles, Cal State-Northridge and Prescott College in Arizona.
One of its most talked-about lists will be its Best Bang for the Buck rankings in each region of country, or those they say “help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” They include these leaders:
In the Northeast: 1. Massachusetts Maritime Academy. 2. Bentley University. 3. University of Pennsylvania. 4. MIT. 5. Boricua College (NY).
In the Midwest: 1. Union Institute and University (OH). 2. National Louis University. 3. College of the Ozarks. 4. Governors State University (IL). 5. University of Notre Dame.
In the Southeast: 1. Washington and Lee University. 2. Georgetown University. 3. Duke University. 4. Florida International University. 5. University of Florida.
In the South: 1. Barea College. 2. Simmons College of Kentucky. 3. Wade College (TX). 4. Texas A&M International University. 5. University of Texas at Rio Grande.
In the West: 1. Brigham Young University. 2. University of Washington at Tacoma. 3. CSU-Los Angeles. 4. CSU-Maritime Academy. 5. CSU-Stanislaus.
Here are Washington Monthly’s Top 100 Best National Universities:
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