City College Of New York, Princeton, And MIT Top A New Ranking Of Colleges’ Economic Value

A new college ranking methodology lists the City College of New York (CCNY), the founding campus of the City University of New York system, as the #1 national university for the economic value it returns to its students.

The ranking, which is likely to viewed as a surprise by many higher education observers more accustomed to seeing elite private universities and public research universities top such lists, comes as the result of a revised methodology developed by Degree Choices, a relatively new online college guide and advice company. (As a full disclosure, I serve as a part-time advisor to the company.)

In its just-released 2023 rankings of the best colleges and universities in America. CCNY, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology topped the list of national universities.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were the University of Florida, Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale University, Florida International University, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania.

The next ten in order were the the University of California, Berkeley; the Georgia Institute of Technology; Rice University; the University of Michigan; the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Washington; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Vanderbilt University; and Columbia University.

Degree Choices also ranks colleges and universities in several different categories, including best liberal arts colleges, best colleges by region, best majors and graduate programs, best HBCUs, and best Hispanic serving institutions.

The 2023 rankings included 1,618 four-year institutions, and revises an earlier list the company released last year in which Princeton ranked first.

Does Two Black Quarterbacks Playing In The Super Bowl Indicate Improved Equity Within The NFL?Music & The Psychology Of ChoiceGive Your Super Bowl Ad Budget To Customer ServiceBiotech Startup Epicore Biosystems Wants To Make Tracking Hydration Health More Accessible To EveryoneLet’s Make Fresh Start February HappenWhite House Misses Opportunity For First Woman Chief Of Staff

Degree Choices rankings are based on a unique measure of the economic return students attending different colleges and universities can expect to receive from their educational investment.

Using public cost and earnings data from the Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Degree Choices calculates two metrics which are then mathematically combined into an institution’s total economic score, upon which the rankings are based.

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to recoup the total cost of attending college (after subtracting financial aid) with their marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have likely earned before attending college and what he or she earns afterwards. This metric is similar to Third Way’s Price-to-Earnings Premium, whose educational director Michael Itzkowitz consulted with Degree Choices on its methodology.

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degree Choices adjusts based on two variables that can influence salary comparisons – each school’s program ecology reflecting the unique mix of academic programs it offers and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

In the case of CCNY, it takes less than six months for the average student receiving federal financial aid to pay back the total cost of an education there. And ten years after attending CCNY, those students, regardless of whether they graduated or not, are earning an average of $55,741 a year. These numbers are consistent with CCNY’s reputation as an institution that offers its students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, excellent prospects for significant upward economic mobility.

At Princeton University, students are earning $95,689 on average ten years after attending, and it takes those receiving federal aid under a year, on average, to pay back their total cost of attendance. Those numbers reflect Princeton’s reputation for producing graduates with very strong earning power.

Whether payback or earningsplus is more important will vary depending on individual circumstancesPayback reveals how soon educational costs can be recovered on average, while earningsplus conveys relative economic advantages later down the road.

To arrive at what is called an institution’s economic scorethe factor on which Degree Choices ranks schools, a school’s payback is divided by the percentage advantage/disadvantage of its earningsplus factor. The lower the resulting quotient, the higher the school’s ranking.

One thing is certain. With Degree Choices’ methodology, public universities fare much better than they do in many other college rankings that place a premium on institutional resources and reputation. For example, among national universities, 9 of the top 20, and 31 of the top 50 are public institutions.