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NEW: Washington Monthly College Rankings Shake Up Local Schools

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

 

Washington Monthly's just-released 2012 college rankings brought big changes for Rhode Island schools: every college dropped more than 50 spots, while Rhode Island College jumped more than 100 spots.

What matters at Washington Monthly: the public good

Unlike other rankings, Washington Monthly assesses how much a college or university contributes to the public good, and this year the editors have factored in a more strenuous review of cost and bang for the buck. Three areas form the basis of each school's ranking: 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). Further, Washington Monthly groups schools in four categories: Liberal Arts Colleges, National Universities, Master's Universities, and Baccalaureate Colleges (for more on the methodology, go here).

Brown University

Still RI's top National University, Brown nonetheless took a hit in this year's Washington Monthly rankings.

Ranked #93 nationwide out of 281 National Universities, Brown received an overall score of 51, which dropped it significantly from its position at #34 in 2011. Research was Brown's strongest suit this year, ranking #8 nationally for Bachelor's to PhD rankings, and #18 for faculty receiving significant awards and #30 for faculty in national academies. With research expenditures of $336 million, Brown moved up big-time, from last year's #84 ranking to #56. In the Service category, Brown also ranked very high at #22 (moving up 6 spots from 2011) for Peace Corps rank (but very low at #246 for ROTC rank). Despite its ongoing pride in community relevance, Brown dropped considerably down in 2012's community service participation, from #68 in 2011 to #150 this year. Social mobility is also not this university's strong suit, ranking #188 overall in the group.

University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island's public university also took a big hit in Washington Monthly's overall rankings for National Universities in 2012, dropping from its #185 ranking last year, down to #243 for 2012, with an overall score of 31.  URI's best rankings this year were in the areas of Community Service and Research. The school ranked #104 for its service staff, courses, and financial aid support, and it ranked #107 for faculty in national academies. With $90 million in research expenditures, the school ranked #128 overall for research investment, a drop of 5 spots from 2011.

Providence College

Repeating as RI's top Master's University, Providence College also took a hit from Washington Monthly, dropping significantly.

Dropping 65 spots from last year's blazing #23 ranking, PC still posted the highest score and ranking in Rhode Island, at #88 out of 682 Master's Universities. The Friars posted two Top 50 rankings in 2012: #37 for Peace Corps participation and #38 in Bachelor's to PhDs. The private college in Providence made two Top 100 rankings this year: #71 for community service participation, and #100 for service staff, courses and financial aid support of community service.

Rhode Island College

The boldest move this year was at RIC, which jumped ahead of Johnson and Wales to claim the second-best Rhode Island ranking among Master's Universities, moving up from #459 last year, to #325. RIC posted a tremendous #32 overall ranking in social mobility, combining high percentage of students receiving Pell grants (41%) with a low net price of $7,699.

Johnson and Wales University

Next in line in the Master's University category, JWU dropped from  #322 last year to #400 for 2012. The school performed best this year in the Service category, with a ranking of #72 in the number of staff, courses, and financial aid that support community service; and a ranking of #109 in student involvement in community service.

Bryant University

Following JWU, Smithfield's business-oriented university took the #606 spot for 2012, with a Top 100 performance in Peace Corps enrollment (#88).

Salve Regina University

The Newport institution ranked #633 this year out of 682 schools in the Master's University category. Salve's best ranking in 2012 was #183 for ROTC ranking, its only finish in the Top 200.

Roger Williams University

The Bristol-based university moved into the Master's University category this year from the Baccalaureate College category last year, and was ranked at #660. RWU's highest ranking in its new group was at #129 for Bachelor's to PhD. 


Note: No RI schools were featured in the Liberal Arts Colleges or the Baccalaureate Colleges categories.

 

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