Centre College ranked #3 in South and #27 in nation in new Forbes “Best Value” ranking
Forbes magazine has launched its first-ever “Best Value Colleges” ranking, and Centre achieved high numbers both regionally and nationally, coming in at #3 in the South and #27 in the nation among liberal arts colleges.
The new ranking emphasizing “bang for buck” adds to the “Best College” ranking by Forbes that has been popular since its launch in 2008, when Centre received a #13 national ranking among all colleges and universities.
Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity at Ohio University, oversees both rankings. He says the new ranking is different because it takes “into account the answers to several questions on most student and parent minds.”
All the concerns focus on outcomes.
“Will I be successful in getting through school in a timely manner (four years)? Is it likely I will get a good, well-paying job? And, of course,” Vedder asks, “is it going to cost me a fortune to go there?”
In other words, he adds, “the Best Value ranking is looking more at ‘quality per dollar spent’ rather than quality alone.”
Results speak for themselves in the case of Centre College and account for its high ranking.
With graduation rates in the mid- to high-80 percent range over the last decade, Centre students have been very successful getting through school in a timely manner. Notably, these are four-year graduation rates, not the six-year rate often used by other institutions.
As for post-graduation results, an average 95 percent of new Centre alumni are employed or pursuing advanced study within a year of graduation. Tracked by the College’s Center for Career & Professional Development, figures for the last three years represent response rates at or above 95 percent. Payscale.com also ranked Centre #1 in Kentucky and #41 in the nation, based on average early and mid-career earnings, in its 2015-16 College Salary Report ranking.
With a comprehensive fee still under $50,000, Centre remains an outlier among its top-50 peers across the nation, many of which are well beyond $60,000 and quickly approaching $70,000 in annual costs. In addition, Centre’s annual institutional scholarship and financial aid budget exceeds $25 million.
Among its peers—those classified as national liberal arts colleges—Centre follows only Washington and Lee University and Davidson College in the South, and it keeps company with the likes of Amherst, Carleton, Haverford, Middlebury, Pomona and Williams colleges across the nation.
The Forbes rankings do not use the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education that parse out institutions of differing sizes or focus, or those dedicated strictly to an undergraduate, liberal arts degree as opposed to institutions with graduate or professional degree programs. As such, Centre comes in at #104 in the nation among all institutions of higher education considered for the “300 schools worth the investment” list by Forbes.
Complete information about the Forbes “Best Value Colleges” ranking is available here.
by Michael Strysick
April 7, 2016