For a long time, U.S. News & World Report had a monopoly on the college rankings game. Every August, the magazine would announce that, once again, Harvard was America’s best college, or Princeton, or, to shake things up, a tie between Harvard and Princeton.
But in recent years, there has been a profusion of rankings competitors, each with a different perspective on what “best colleges” really means. Playboy ranks America’s best party schools, much to the chagrin of administrators at the winners. The Princeton Review ranks colleges in no fewer than 62 categories, including financial aid and campus food.
On Monday, Money magazine took its shot, releasing a new best colleges list focused on, unsurprisingly, money. While some elements of the rankings are familiar, the list is distinguished by the depth of its attention to a pair of questions on the minds of many students and parents. First, how much money will I actually have to pay — and, probably, borrow — to earn a diploma? Second, how much money will my diploma be worth in the job market when the time comes to pay my loans back?