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washington monthly college guide 2016

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The 2016 Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings are Out!

These are America’s top schools — for low- and middle-income students, for adult learners, and for the country.

by Paul Glastris

Political Animal

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The Washington Monthly magazine today is releasing its annual College Guide and Rankings , an increasingly influential alternative to U.S. News & World Report’s much-criticized college rankings. The Guide also features a first-ever “ Best Colleges for Adult Learners ” ranking plus profiles of the “ Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education .”

Whereas U.S. News relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of money and prestige for its rankings, the Washington Monthly measures schools based on what they are doing for the country—by improving social mobility, producing research, and promoting public service.

The Washington Monthly’s unique methodology —strengthened by new federal data on the average earnings and loan repayment rates of students from specific colleges—yields striking results:

• While 19 out of U.S. News’ top 20 national university rankings are private schools, the majority of Washington Monthly’s top 20 are public institutions, including University of California-San Diego, Texas A&M, and Utah State University, schools that rate nowhere near the top at U.S. News.
• While a few elite schools, such as Stanford and Harvard top the Washington Monthly list, others underperform. Columbia, Northwestern, and Washington University in St. Louis, which rank 4th, 12th, and 15th respectively, on the U.S. News list, come in 24th, 40th, and 99th in the Washington Monthly rankings.
• Berea College, ranked 67th on U.S. News’ list of liberal arts colleges, comes in 1st in the Washington Monthly.

While nearly half of all college students today are adults, no national publication has ever ranked colleges based on which serve adult students best— until now . To put together its exclusive ranking of the best four-year and two-year colleges for adult learners, the Washington Monthly compiled reams of data on which schools best meet these students’ unique needs, such as plenty of weekend, evening, and online classes to fit busy work schedules.

The top five four-year colleges for adults are:
• Golden Gate University—San Francisco (CA)
• University of Utah (UT)
• Park University (MO)
• Concordia University—St. Paul (MN)
• University of Colorado-Denver (CO)

Absent from the top 100 best-for-adults list are any of the private elite institutions that crowd the top of U.S. News’s rankings, largely because such schools enroll too few adults. For the most part, these elite schools simply aren’t in the business of educating adults.

The 2016 Washington Monthly College Guide also includes an updated “ Best Bang for the Buck ” ranking of colleges that are doing the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. While a few well-known elite schools score well, including Amherst and Georgetown, many of the highest-ranking “Best Bang” schools are ones other publications seldom celebrate, such as the University of Mount Olive (NC), Cal State-Bakersfield, and College of the Ozarks (MO).

In addition, the new issue features mini-profiles of the “ Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education. ” These administrators, researchers, nonprofit leaders and startup entrepreneurs are finding better ways of providing quality degrees to more students at lower cost. They include Charles Isbell of Georgia Tech, Candice Thille of Stanford, Nichole Hurd of College Advising Corps, and Kai Drekmeier of Inside Track.

The issue also includes in-depth feature stories on:
• The False Promise of “Free” College
• How the Internet Wrecked College Admissions
• Michael Sorrell, the Man Reinventing the Urban College

Enjoy the issue!

Paul Glastris

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.

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2016 College Guide and Rankings

Posted by Anne Kim

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Since 2005, the Washington Monthly has released an annual College Guide and rankings, where we rate schools based on what they are doing for the country. It’s our answer to U.S News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige to evaluate schools.

We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). We also offer our “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings – our exclusive list of schools that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. This year, we are also debuting the nation’s first-ever ranking of the best colleges for adult learners. More rankings information, including methodologies, can be found here .

Click the cover to read our 2016 College Guide issue online. You can also read last year’s issue. And be sure to check out our book,  The Other College Guide .

Sept-16-Cover
September/October
Other College Guide

We are deeply grateful to the  Lumina Foundation ,  The Kresge Foundation , and the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  for their support.


Click for a flipbook version
of the 2017 College Guide

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