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

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Movies

Antoine Fuqua knows how to kill a man…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…