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NEW REPORT: A Different Kind of College Ranking

New America’s Kevin Carey Guest Edits Washington Monthly College Guide
Published:   August 27, 2012

Washington, DC — Washington Monthly magazine released today its annual College Guide, guest edited by Kevin Carey, director of the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program. Called "more interesting than virtually any other ranking out there,” by the New York Times, the guide measures the schools' contributions to their students and society.

While U.S. News & World Report relies on measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige for its rankings, the Washington Monthly — in collaboration with the New America Foundation's Education Policy Program — rated schools based on what they are doing for their students and the country by improving social mobility, producing research, and promoting public service.

And this year for the first time the magazine included a look at which institutions combine higher-than-expected graduation rates with affordable prices — a true measure of where to get the biggest “bang for the buck.”

"There’s nothing wrong with rankings per se, but the rankings that push individual colleges to heedlessly raise prices help precipitate a collective crisis that threatens to undermine institutions that are vital to the nation’s future prosperity and civic life," Carey said. "Our rankings pose a different question: What are colleges doing for the country?”

Findings from the Washington Monthly's unique methodology:
• Only one of U.S. News' top ten schools, Stanford, makes the Washington Monthy’s top ten. Yale fails even to crack the top 40. New York University, which has floated to national prominence on a sea of student debt, is 77th. NYU does particularly poorly on the new “bang for the buck” measure.

• The University of California - San Diego ranks first among national universities for the third year in a row due to its commitment to educating an economically diverse student body while supporting world-class research.

• While all the top 20 U.S. News universities are private, 13 of the top 20 Washington Monthly universities are public. In the U.S. News rankings public universities have been overtaken by private institutions that spend more, charge more, and cater almost exclusively to the rich and upper-upper middle class. The Washington Monthly national rankings, by contrast, are far more focused on recognizing accessible, affordable, high-quality public universities.

To view the rankings, please click here.
To interview Kevin Carey, please contact Clara Hogan.