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slides: How Rhode Island’s Colleges Performed On Latest National Rankings

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The University of Rhode Island has been named to Washington Monthly's new Best Bang for the Buck list.

It's no coincidence that "ranking season"--the release of major national rankings of America's colleges and universities--coincides with the migration of hundreds of thousands of college students onto the campuses, and Rhode Island is no exception. Princeton Review posted its rankings earlier in August, and now comes Washington Monthly's assessment, with a companion set of data that provides a penetrating look at several key aspects of college performance. How did Rhode Island's colleges do up against the latest standard?

To see how Rhode Island's colleges performed in Princeton Review's Best Colleges 2014 ranking, go here. 

URI, Salve Regina make Best Bang for the Buck ranking

For two RI colleges, appearing on a new list from Washington Monthly is big news. Named to WM's new Best Bang for the Buck list at #87, the University of Rhode Island joins the list of the colleges in America that WM says "do the best job of helping nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices." Salve Regina was also named to the list, at #322. The list is pretty exclusive: out of the 1,572 colleges and universities in WM's broader rankings, only 349 made the cut as best-bang-for-the-buck schools. (See the full list here.

"The public schools that really dominate the list are the kind that the U.S. News & World Report tends to relegate to its lower tiers—places like CUNY Queens College, California State, Long Beach, and East Carolina University," wrote Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University, in an essay about the Best Bang list. "These schools may not be big names nationally, but they deliver for their students big-time."

Washington Monthly: Schools Toward the Public Good

What may set WM's rankings apart from both Princeton Review and US News & World Report (which releases in September) is its mission of using data to determine a college's contribution to the public good. Washington Monthly uses three broad categories to derive this value-based 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). 

To see how Rhode Island's ranked colleges performed on these measures and ranked overall, see the slides, below. 

"Washington Monthly puts an interesting spin on college rankings because they focus heavily on net price," said Cristiana Quinn, GoLocalProv College Admissions expert and the founder of College Admissions Advisors. "This follows the President's education plan to evaluate and provide federal funding to colleges based on 'value'," Quinn said.

"While this is an interesting approach to ranking schools, it can be confusing for families," Quinn said. "It is important to remember that the Washington Monthly rankings do not follow a formula that weights many traditional academic factors heavily." Quinn advised that families should still consider class size, professor credentials and accessibility, majors offered, internships, graduate school acceptance rates, job placement and other important criteria when selecting colleges for students.

As Rhode Island's colleges open their gates and hallways to this year's students, how well do they measure up to Washington Monthly's standards? See the results in the slides, below. 

Note: Washington Monthly separates colleges onto several lists: 284 National Universities, 684 Master's Universities, 255 Liberal Arts Colleges, 350 Baccalaureate Colleges, and 50 Community Colleges. Rhode Island schools were named only to the first two categories; the specific list is noted in each college's ranking description. 


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