These Rankings Reward ‘Effective and Inexpensive’ Colleges

Washington Monthly doesn’t rank colleges the same way U.S. News & World Report does. That’s why the University of California at San Diego tops its list of national universities, and Harvard University comes in at No. 11. Take a deep breath, ye proponents of prestige.

Since 2005 Washington Monthly has ranked colleges using methodology derived from this question: What are colleges doing for the country? (It’s a better question, for sure, than “What’s this college doing for my ego?”) The magazine’s rankings include a ”social mobility” measure, which rewards colleges that enroll many low-income students and have better-than-expected graduation rates.

This year, that measure has a new dimension: price. “Colleges that are both effective and inexpensive get the highest marks,” the magazine’s editors write in their introduction to this year’s college guide. (See their note on methodology for an explanation of how the “cost-adjusted graduation rate” was calculated.)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Princeton University is ranked No. 20. Read all about it here.

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