Forbes gets practical with return-on-investment college rankings

Forbes' best colleges lists have become increasingly popular.
Forbes’ best colleges lists have become increasingly popular.

Forbes magazine recently released its list of “25 Colleges with the Best Return on Investment,” a prelude to its annual “America’s Top Colleges” list.

Since they released their first college rankings in 2008, Forbes’ lists have become increasingly popular among students and parents and, in turn, coveted by colleges. But Forbes actually has very little to do with the creation of the lists or the methodology behind them.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity – a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank – creates the rankings for Forbes. The group generally advocates for market-based solutions to problems in higher education, and their rankings were developed in part to emphasize the student’s role as a consumer.

“The U.S. News [and World Report college ranking] relies more on reputation. A fairly large component of their index is based on questionnaires with leaders of institutions,” says Richard Vedder, the director of CCAP. “We wanted to be more student-centered than other rankings. We’re interested in whether students feel the courses they’re taking are interesting. Do they get jobs after graduation? What kind of money do they make? Do they obtain positions of high responsibility in our society? What’s the debt load they incur?”

The 2013 ROI list will be most valuable for prospective STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students, but may be less applicable in other fields. In terms of a baseline calculation of tuition dollars vs. starting salary, not many fields can compete with STEM. The Top 10 colleges are all either technical or engineering schools.

“I don’t know that this list is more valuable than the other ones out there. It’s just one more piece of information,” says Susan Adams, a reporter at Forbes. “What distinguishes this one is that it looks at one particular factor: return on investment. It wasn’t surprising to me that the schools at the top of the list were heavy on engineering and technical education.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.