The best colleges for your money

Posted on July 29th, 2014

There’s no perfect method for ranking colleges, and every media organization that releases a list has its own standards and criteria.

We tend to focus on lists that take a college’s value compared to its cost into account and which colleges leave their graduates with little student debt.

That’s why we’re intrigued–and, admittedly, a little surprised–by these latest rankings from Time Money.

Which colleges offer the best bang for your buck?

The newsmagazine recently ranked 1,500 four-year colleges by which colleges offer the most bang for your tuition buck.

The top of the list may surprise you: Babson College, a small business school in Massachusetts, ranked first. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re far from alone.

And Webb College, another little known (and tiny, with an enrollment of only 79 students) architecture and engineering college on Long Island ranked second.

The rest of the top 20 included more familiar names like Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, but there were plenty of surprises on the list.

Colleges ranked by quality, affordability and graduate outcomes

So how did the magazine come up with these rankings?

To start, the magazine took out all colleges with below-average graduation rates. Given that not graduating from college can have serious effects on students’ chances of future success, we appreciate the consideration of quality.

Once these schools had been eliminated, the 665 that remained were judged on 17 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings provided by

It also took into account the economic and academic profile of the college’s student body and the mix of majors at that school and assigned each school an additional ranking that was factored into the original score.

The value of college rankings

With the cost of college rising, rankings like these help students and families choose from the thousands of colleges across the country and expose them to schools they may have never even heard of that offer a great education at a low price.

There’s no question that quality and affordability are top factors for any student choosing a college. And with student debt an unfortunate reality for most students, it’s important to know whether or not graduates of a college can find jobs that pay well enough for them to afford their student loan payments.

Check out the top 10 below, and head over to Time Money to see the full list. There’s also a great interactive tool that lets you customize results by size, location, average high school GPA, and acceptance rate–helpful information for any college-bound student or family to know.

Money’s Top 10 Best Colleges:

1. Babson College – Babson Park, Mass.

2. Webb Institute – Glen Cove, N.Y.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Mass.

4. Princeton University – Princeton, N.J.

5. Stanford University – Stanford, Calif.

6. Harvard University – Cambridge, Mass.

7. Harvey Mudd College – Claremont, Calif.

8. Cooper Union – New York City, N.Y.

9. Brigham Young University – Provo – Provo, Utah

10. California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, Calif.

Category: Choosing a College

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