Money magazine entered the college-ranking game on Monday, declaring the little-known Babson College as the nation's "best bang for your buck" university.
The magazine calculated its rankings by focusing on educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings at the nation's roughly 1,500 four-year colleges. It factored in cost of tuition, loan debts, and how much a degree would be worth in the job market after graduation.
Money ranked the business-focused Babson College as No. 1 in the country, partly because of the hand-on experience it provides its entrepreneurial students.
"Babson alums report earning an average of nearly $60,000 a year within five years of graduation—about $13,000 more than the average for recent grads of comparable schools. Ninety percent graduate within six years, eight points better than similar colleges," Money reported.
Also listed in Money's top 10 were the better-known M.I.T., Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and the California Institute of Technology. Brigham Young, Webb Institute, Harvey Mudd College and Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art also made the list.
Kim Clark, a senior writer at Money who created the rankings, said the list includes "some famous, some surprising" schools that "according to the best data available, provide real value."
The No. 1 ranking for Babson, with less than 3,000 students enrolled last year, confused some readers on Monday.
The New York Times' Kevin Carey wrote that the "mark of a good new college rankings system — or, at least, an interesting one — is a deft combination of familiarity and surprise.
"Publish a list of nothing but unknown colleges and you lose credibility. Simply replicate the U.S. News hierarchy and you haven't done anything worthy of attention. By this measure, the Money rankings are successful," he said.
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