Forbes ranks 300 Best Value Colleges

Forbes recently released its 2017 of "Best Value Colleges," featuring 300 schools the publication deems to be worth the investment.  

The ranking is the latest in a flurry of college rankings based on ROI, all aiming to capitalize on students' and families' growing focus on the financial return of a college degree. Forbes says its 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.

The 2017 ranking is based on data from the Department of Education's College Scorecard and PayScale. To estimate return on investment, Forbes considered each institution's placement on its 2016 Top Colleges ranking, graduation rate, and alumni salaries. For the first time this year, Forbes also considered each institution's median student debt and share of Pell Grant recipients into the calculations.

Here are the top 20:

  1. University of California, Berkeley
  2. University of California, Los Angeles
  3. Princeton University
  4. University of Florida
  5. Harvard University
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. Stanford University
  8. University of California, Irvine
  9. University of California, Davis
  10. Brigham Young University
  11. University of California, San Diego
  12. Duke University
  13. Yale University
  14. Rice University
  15. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  16. Amherst College
  17. Cornell University
  18. Dartmouth College
  19. California Institute of Technology
  20. University of Virginia

A large number of research universities and STEM-oriented institutions fill the remainder of the list as well. Forbes editors say this reflects the shift toward fields that students view as practical, as well as the growing salary and career options available to those in STEM fields (Howard, Forbes, 4/26). 

How ROI concerns are changing students' enrollment decisions

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