Just in time for back-to-school comes yet another college rankings list. The "U.S. News and World Report" probably has the most famous one. "Forbes" and "TIME" each have their own. And even President Obama got into the college ranking game recently.
This one is a bit different than the annual glut of "best colleges" lists. In fact, it's the complete opposite. "Washington Monthly" set out to find those institutions that — whether due to cost, debt or students' prospects after the mortarboard drops — should be avoided. And California is well-represented among them.
To find the worst of the worst, "We set out to make a list of the poorest-performing colleges," writes Ben Miller, a senior policy analyst with the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program. "What we found is that, while good schools are basically all alike, every crappy school is crappy in its own way."
"Whether it's a northeastern private college, a well-regarded midwestern public institution, or some other school rich with financial and reputational resources, any option will provide students with what really matters: overwhelmingly high odds of graduating from a well-recognized college."
These rankings, though, are for that "less fortunate" student who maybe can only get into lower-tier colleges and whose decision is more likely to be which schools to avoid. With the student loan delinquency problem only getting worse, more emphasis is being placed on the how much bang students are getting for their borrowed buck even at the lower-ranked colleges.
To find the "top" 20, "Washington Monthly" took that into consideration and based its overall worst ranking of 1,700 four-year colleges and universities on the four following criteria:
- Net price
- Average student debt
- Average default rate
- Average graduation rate
All criteria were weighted equally.
Four California colleges ranked in the "top" 10, including the private film school Columbia College—Hollywood (which is actually in Tarzana).
|1||New England Institute of Art||MA||Private for-profit|
|2||Columbia College—Hollywood||CA||Private nonprofit|
|3||Fountainhead College of Technology||TN||Private for-profit|
|4||Saint Augustine's University||NC||Private nonprofit (HBCU)*|
|5||Platt College—Aurora||CO||Private for-profit|
|6||Becker College||MA||Private nonprofit|
|7||Brooks Institute||CA||Private for-profit|
|8||Mt. Sierra College||CA||Private for-profit|
|9||Menlo College||CA||Private nonprofit|
|10||University of Advancing Technology||AZ||Private for-profit|
|11||Columbia College—Chicago||IL||Private nonprofit|
|12||Cornish College of the Arts||WA||Private nonprofit|
|13||DeVry University||IL||Private for-profit|
|14||Clark Atlanta University||GA||Private nonprofit (HBCU)*|
|15||Midstate College||IL||Private for-profit|
|16||Shimer College||IL||Private nonprofit|
|17||Miami International University of Art and Design||FL||Private for-profit|
|18||Art Institute of Colorado||CO||Private for-profit|
|19||International Academy of Design and Technology—Chicago||IL||Private for-profit|
|20||Kansas City Art Institute||KS||Private nonprofit|
|Source: 'Washington Monthly'||*Historically Black Colleges and Universities|
"Washington Monthly" also complied rankings where graduation rates, degrees conferred to part-time and transfer students, and graduation rates of minorities and low-income students were weighted more heavily.
You can see those lists at their website.