Forbes names 'Top Colleges' 2015

Three alternative rankings also released

On Wednesday, Forbes released several lists of top colleges based on qualifications such as best value, best return on investment, and most school spirit.

To create the lists, Forbes partnered with the nonprofit Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). Forbes says their rankings stand out by focusing more on the value students get out of a college than what a student has to do to get into the college.

To determine the top overall colleges, CCAP researchers analyzed schools along 12 factors, grouped into five weighted categories:

  • Student satisfaction (25%);
  • Post-graduate success (32.5%);
  • Student debt (25%);
  • Graduation rate (7.5%); and
  • Academic success (10%).

Each school's 2015 ranking was also influenced by its 2013 and 2014 scores. Ultimately, researchers ranked 650 institutions nationwide.

EAB congratulates member institutions among the top 'Top Colleges'

The top 10 'Top Colleges' were:

  1. Pomona College;
  2. Williams College;
  3. Stanford University;
  4. Princeton University;
  5. Yale University;
  6. Harvard University;
  7. Swarthmore College;
  8. Brown University;
  9. Amherst College; and
  10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

These institutions all scored very highly on retention rates, graduation rates, and student satisfaction. They also generally have low student-to-faculty ratios and graduates tend to carry less debt.

Forbes also released three more lists based on alternative indicators of college value.

First, the Grateful Graduates Index ranks colleges by best return on investment, as measured by the average percentage of graduates who donated in the last three years and the median amount donated per student across the last ten years.

Second, the #MyTopCollege campaign ranks schools mentioned on Twitter or Instagram with the eponymous hashtag—quality and quantity of mentions determined the winners.

Finally, Forbes ranked "Best Value Schools" by dividing each institution's overall score by its published tuition for in-state students (Howard, Forbes, 7/29 [1]; Howard, Forbes, 7/29 [2]; Schifrin, Forbes, 7/29; Castellano, Forbes, 7/28; Feiner, Forbes, 7/29).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.


Next in Today's Briefing

EAB congratulates members at the top of the 'Top Colleges' list

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague