Best Colleges for 2018 Include Several ‘Value’ Schools

Photo by F8 studio / Shutterstock.com

U.S. News & World Report has released its 2018 Best Colleges rankings — with a new twist: The publication now provides postgraduate salary information from PayScale.

The U.S. News profile pages for these schools list the median starting salary for alumni who have zero to five years of postgraduate work experience and whose highest degree is a bachelor’s.

The U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy tied for first, CBS News reports, with this type of graduate earning a median salary of $80,300. The California Institute of Technology comes in second with $78,400.

Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, explains this new feature:

“[F]amilies and students have increasingly asked for more data on salary and potential earnings. We wanted to make this information easily available to them, but stress that it should be considered as one factor among many when deciding where to attend college.”

Alumni salaries were not used to determine school rankings.

Academic excellence remains the focus of the rankings. In particular, student outcomes such as graduation and freshman retention rates are weighted most heavily.

U.S. News editor and chief content officer Brian Kelly describes graduation and retention rates as “important indicators of how well a school supports its students both academically and financially.” He continues:

“Colleges that saddle students with debt but do little to support them through graduation are contributing to a vicious cycle — without that valuable degree, students will have a difficult time landing well-paying jobs and repaying their loans, which puts them in a precarious financial situation early on in their careers.”

Among all ranked schools in the National Universities category, the average six-year graduation rate is 71.7 percent and the average freshman retention rate is 87.2 percent.

By comparison, among the top 10 schools in that category, the average six-year graduate rate is 96 percent and the average freshman retention rate is 98.3 percent.

The top three schools in the main categories this year include the following:

National universities:

  • Princeton University, New Jersey
  • Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • University of Chicago (tie for third)
  • Yale University, Connecticut (tie for third)

National liberal arts colleges:

  • Williams College, Massachusetts
  • Amherst College, Massachusetts
  • Bowdoin College, Maine (tie for third)
  • Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania (tie for third)
  • Wellesley College, Massachusetts (tie for third)

Public national universities:

  • University of California-Berkeley (tie for first)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (tie for first)
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Public national liberal arts colleges:

  • U.S. Military Academy, New York
  • U.S. Naval Academy, Maryland
  • U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado

Before you write off the nation’s top schools as out of your price range, you might want to check out the Best Value category. Princeton, Harvard and Yale ranked highest here due to generous grants.

For more ways to save on college, check out “5 Ways to Dramatically Reduce the Cost of College.”

What’s your take on these schools? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them

Rescuing a retirement from regret starts with these steps well before it’s time to quit working.

10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More

Think you’re a savvy shopper? Find out how retailers persuade you to dig more deeply into your wallet.

This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything
This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything

You could earn more than $600 cash back in your first year just from grocery shopping.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Generic products are a great way to save money, but sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security
What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security

A federal minimum-wage hike could affect the Social Security system dramatically.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.