Lists That Rank Colleges’ Value Are On The Rise

Career College Central summary:

  • The Washington Monthly is now compiling a list of colleges that offer the "best bang for the buck." Purists might regard such bottom-line calculations as an insult to the intellectual, social and civic value of education. But dollars-and-cents tabulations are the fastest-growing sector of the college rankings industry, with more analyses vying for the attention of high school students and their parents who are anxious about finances.
  • President Obama sharply raised the ante in August with a plan to rate colleges on their value and affordability and to tie those ratings to the $150 billion in financial aid that the federal government supplies each year. But there is no agreement on how to measure the value of a college, and there is no agreement, or anything even close, on what value is in the first place.
  • U.S. News and World Report, whose academic rankings have long been derided — and obsessively followed — by college presidents, now publishes “best value” lists as well.
  • Princeton Review, which has advised decades of prospective students on the best party schools, more recently began listing the best value schools, too.
  • Forbes Magazine got in the is-it-worth-the-money game too, as did, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The Alumni Factor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Payscale, a company that gathers data about the job market. These widely divergent definitions and rankings produce wildly divergent results.

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