Poets & Quants Composite MBA Rankings 2015 List 24 Public Programs in Top 50

The annual composite MBA rankings compiled by John A. Byrne at Poets & Quants combines rankings from the “five most influential rankings and weighs each of them by the soundness of their methodologies” in order to yield “a more credible list of the best MBA programs.”

We like Poets & Quants and Byrne’s rankings and try to write about them each year. The rankings from which he combines the comprehensive list are those from U.S. News, Forbes, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the Economist.

Here are the public MBA programs listed in the top 50 for 2015, and their composite rank:

8–UC Berkeley Haas

12–Virginia Darden

13–Michigan Ross

14–UCLA Anderson

17–North Carolina Kenan-Flagler

18–UT Austin McCombs

21–Indiana Kelley

22–Washington Foster

25–Michigan State Broad

29–Minnesota Carlson

31–Ohio State Fisher


33–Penn State Smeal

34–Georgia Tech

35–Maryland Smith

36–Arizona State Carey

37–Iowa Tippie

40–Pitt Katz

41–Texas A&M Mays

44–Purdue Krannert


46–Florida Hough

47–UC Irvine Merage

48–Georgia Terry

50–Temple Ford


Do Elite Colleges Really Offer Better Courses? Probably Yes, in Some Ways

Is it actually worth it, in terms of quality classroom learning, to land a place at an elite college or university? This is a question that many families with highly-talented students ask themselves. If their answer is yes, the result is likely to be a concerted, frenzied effort to mold the students in a way that gives them at least a modest chance of admission to such schools. (Of course, for better or worse, the question is often framed as “Is it worth it, in terms of career success, to land a place…”).

Regarding the differences in the quality of classes among all levels of institutions, new research provides some insights. The researchers lean toward minimizing the relationship between academic prestige and quality of instruction–but it appears that some of their own research suggests just the opposite.

In an article titled Are Elite College Courses Better?, Doug Lederman, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, provides an excellent, mostly neutral summary of the recent research that suggests course quality in a relatively broad range of institutions does not vary as much as the prestige of a given school might suggest.

“Researchers at Teachers College of Columbia University and at Yeshiva University… believe they are developing a legitimate way to compare the educational quality of courses across institutions,” Lederman writes, “and their initial analysis, they say, ‘raises questions about the value of higher-prestige institutions in terms of their teaching quality.'”

The researchers suggest that the drive to enhance prestige based on rankings and selectivity have led to “signaling”–branding, perceptions–that are increasingly divorced from the actual quality of classroom instruction. The laudable aim of the researchers is to turn the conversation away from college rankings and the metrics that drive them, and toward measurements of effective, challenging instruction.

Trained faculty observers visited nine colleges and 600 classes. Three of the nine had high prestige; two had minimum prestige; and four had low prestige. The schools were both public and private, with differing research and teaching emphases. We should note that there was no list of which schools were in each category, so we do not know exactly how the researchers defined “elite.” It appears likely, however, that many leading public research universities would be considered elite.

“Teaching quality was defined as instruction that displayed the instructor’s subject matter knowledge, drew out students’ prior knowledge and prodded students to wrestle with new ideas, while academic rigor was judged on the ‘cognitive complexity’ and the ‘level of standards and expectations’ of the course work,” Lederman writes.

“But they found that on only one of the five measures, cognitive complexity of the course work, did the elite colleges in the study outperform the non-elite institutions.”

First, we note that highly-qualified honors students at almost all colleges, including many less prestigious public universities, are far more likely to encounter more “cognitive complexity” in their honors courses. Whether this results from having more depth or breadth in actual assignments, from taking harder courses early on, or from engaging in more challenging interactions with similarly smart students and the best faculty, the learning experience in honors embraces complexity.

We also have to agree with one of the longest and most thoughtful comments posted on Lederman’s article, by one “catorenasci”:

“Well, is [more cognitive complexity] a surprise to anyone? After all…on average the students at elite colleges and universities (private or public) have demonstrated higher cognitive ability than the students at less prestigious colleges and universities. Which means that the faculty can teach at a level of greater cognitive complexity without losing (many) students.”

The full comment from “catorenasci” also seems to be on the mark when it comes to improved instruction in all other measured areas on the part of colleges with less prestige, regardless of honors affiliation.

“As for the level of ‘teaching quality’ based on faculty knowledge, given the job market today, it should hardly be surprising that it has equaled out since there are many top quality candidates for even less prestigious positions and overall, I would suspect that the ‘quality’ of the PhD’s of faculty at less elite schools is much closer to that of elite schools than it was during the ’50s and ’60s when higher education was expanding rapidly and jobs were plentiful.

“The transformational aspect should not be surprising either: assuming faculty are competent and dedicated, with less able students they will work harder to draw out what they know and build on it. And, it will be more likely that students will experience significant growth as the faculty do this.”

We Vote for US News Global Rankings vs Times Higher Ed World Rankings

The annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings have had the strongest presence in the ranking “world” since 2004, but here’s one vote for the U.S. News Best Global Universities rankings being better even though they have been around only two years. Both are useful because they measure the prestige and research impact of hundreds of universities around the world at a time when there is much more international cooperation–and competition–among institutions.

It is rare for us to applaud the U.S. News rankings because there are many serious issues with the annual “Best Colleges” publication. It over-emphasizes the financial resources of colleges and their selectivity, to the detriment of most public universities.

But when it comes to world rankings, U.S. News drops the focus on financial metrics in favor of academic reputation and research metrics, including the use of regional reputation surveys that help to offset the eurocentric bias of the Times Higher Ed rankings.

For example, the Times Higher Ed rankings list 42 European universities among the top 100 in the world, while U.S. News lists 31. The main reason is probably that the Times rankings do include financial metrics and do not factor in the additional regional reputation data.

Below is a table showing the U.S. public universities ranked among the top 100 in the world by U.S. News alongside the rankings of the same universities by Times Higher Ed. An additional column shows the average ranking of each school when both ranking systems are used. The average ranking of leading U.S. public universities by U.S. News is 44 out of 100; the average Times Higher Ed ranking of the same schools is 82.

 US News GlobalTimes Higher EdAverage
UC Berkeley3138
UC San Diego193929
UC Santa Barbara243931.5
North Carolina276345
UT Austin304638
Ohio St349062
UC Davis394441.5
UC Santa Cruz4814496
Penn State577566
UC Irvine6110683.5
Georgia Tech644152.5
Michigan St829992.5
Texas A&M88193140.5

Expert on International Higher Ed: “Un-Excellence” Initiatives Aimed at Public Universities Harm U.S. Standing in the World

Editor’s note: This post updated on October 1, 2016, after release of Times Higher Ed Rankings for 2016.

It is likely that Philip G. Altbach, a research professor and the founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, has the sharpest eye of anyone in America when it comes to seeing how well U.S. universities compare with rapidly improving institutions throughout the world. What he sees is not good.

U.S. public universities are losing ground to foreign institutions, most notably in Europe and Scandinavia.

(Below the following text are three tables. The first compares the Times Higher Ed world rankings of U.S. universities and those throughout the world for the years 2011 and 2016. The second shows the decline in rankings for U.S. public universities for the same  years. The third and final table shows the rise in rankings for U.S. private universities.

Altbach cites the work of colleague Jamil Salmi, who found that there are at least 36 “excellence initiatives” around the world “that have pumped billions of dollars into the top universities in these countries — with resulting improvements in quality, research productivity, and emerging improvements in the rankings of these universities. Even in cash-strapped Russia, the ‘5-100’ initiative is providing $70 million into each of 15 selected universities to help them improve and compete globally. [Emphasis added.]

“At the same time, American higher education is significantly damaging its top universities through continuous budget cuts by state governments. One might call this an American “unExcellence initiative” as the world’s leading higher education systematically damages its top research universities. Current developments are bad enough in a national context, but in a globalized world, policies in one country will inevitably have implications elsewhere. Thus, American disinvestment, coming at the same time as significant investment elsewhere, will magnify the decline of a great higher education system.”

One reason: All the bad publicity about cuts in funding, along with high-profile political grandstanding that has received far too much attention throughout the world academic community. For example, UT Austin endured years of highly publicized attacks by former Governor Perry during his second term, and UW Madison has been hurt by similar actions on the part of Governor Scott Walker.

Unless state legislatures move toward excellence and restore pre-Great Recession funding levels, there will be “a revolution in global higher education and create space for others at the top of the rankings. It would also be extraordinarily damaging for American higher education and for America’s competitiveness in the world.”

The average ranking for the 23 U.S. publics among the top 100 in the world in 2011 was 39th, while in 2016 it was 49th–and only 15 publics were among the top 100. Meanwhile, leading U.S. private universities have seen both their average reputation rankings and overall rankings rise since 2011.

To illustrate Professor Altbach’s point, we have generated the tables below.

This table compares the Times Higher Ed world  rankings of U.S. universities and those throughout the world for the years 2011 and 2016.

Top 100 Overall2011Public2016PublicGain/Loss

The following table shows the decline in rankings for U.S. public universities for the years 2011 and 2016. UC Davis is the only school to rise, while most dropped significantly.

Times Higher Ed Rankings2011201120162016
UC Berkeley48613
UC San Diego30324139
UT Austin31294646
UC Davis38544444
Georgia Tech39274941
UC Santa Barbara55296539
North Carolina41306563
Purdue 4710675113
Ohio State55667590

This last table shows the rise in rankings for leading U.S. private universities for the years 2011 and 2016.

Times Higher Ed Rankings2011201120162016
Johns Hopkins14131812
Carnegie Mellon28202822

Best Colleges for Pell Grant Support and High Grad Rates for Recipients

The New York Times, in its “Upshot” feature, has analyzed for the second consecutive year data for some 179 colleges and universities to determine the “economic diversity” of the institutions. What this boils down to is a scoring mechanism that ranks the schools according to the percentage of freshmen who receive Pell Grants and graduate. The grants typically go to students with a family income of $70,000 or less.

Note: Two tables are listed below, the first for public universities and the second for private schools.

The review of access data is also useful for families whose income is greater than 70k. To be included in the analysis and ranking, each school had to have a 2014 five-year grad rate of 75% or more. This information in itself is a handy way to group these schools by grad rate.

Other data elements stand out: only 32 public institutions made the list because of the grad rate threshold, while 147 private schools are on the list. This, too, is useful, but the story is more involved that these figures suggest. The 32 public schools actually have more Pell Grant recipient/graduates (26,690) than the 147 private schools (20,192). The average percentage of freshmen with Pell Grants in the public universities is 17%; for the private schools, 14% of freshmen are recipients.

Publics have lower average net cost for Pell Grant recipients, $16,250 versus $19,986.

One more interesting element is that the amount of endowment per student is far less for public universities. UC Irvine, ranked number 1 in the analysis, has an endowment per student of $11,000; for Princeton, ranked number 18 in economic access, the endowment per student is $2,320,000. It is common for the per student endowment for publics to be only 5-15 percent of that for wealthy private colleges. Nevertheless, the publics do somewhat better relative to private schools in providing economic access. The link to the New York Times report lists the endowment figures for each school.

RankPublic College or UniversityFreshmenPell %Total PellNet Price
1University of California-Irvine54490.42179.613000
2University of California-Davis50630.311569.5314000
3University of California-Santa Barbara45970.311425.0714000
4University of California-San Diego52180.281461.0413000
5University of California-Los Angeles56840.281591.5213000
6University of Florida63480.241523.529000
7University of California-Berkeley46770.231075.7113000
24University of Georgia52190.17887.2313000
27Rutgers-New Brunswick63930.231470.3920000
29Texas A&M-College Station90300.171535.114000
35SUNY at Binghamton25850.251718000
40University of Texas at Austin71180.171210.0617000
48University of Michigan61760.12741.1212000
49University of Illinois73210.171244.5718000
54Georgia Tech-Main Campus26690.11293.5911000
59University of Vermont24830.13322.7915000
65Ohio State-Main Campus71210.151068.1517000
75University of New Hampshire28690.18516.4222000
77College of William and Mary14790.09133.1111000
79University of Maryland40110.12481.3215000
87University of Connecticut37410.14523.7418000
91SUNY at Geneseo11280.13146.6418000
94University of Delaware42100.11463.115000
102University of Virginia35160.11386.7616000
113Virginia Tech53600.12643.218000
114James Madison41990.1419.916000
116University of Wisconsin-Madison63230.1632.316000
118The College of New Jersey14020.14196.2822000
148University of Pittsburgh38510.12462.1226000
152Penn State-Main Campus80050.11880.5525000
157Miami University-Oxford36370.09327.3324000
RankPrivate College or UniversityFreshmenPell %StudentsNet Price
12Westminster, Pa.3020.2781.5421000
25Moody Bible Institute4140.2499.3621000
33Gustavus Adolphus6100.21128.119000
39U. Penn.23530.14329.4213000
41St. Mary’s, Md.3830.1661.2815000
42College of Saint Benedict5380.2107.621000
44Claremont McKenna3370.1240.4411000
46Wheaton, Ill.5970.17101.4918000
53Franklin and Marshall6040.1696.6417000
57Saint John’s4970.1784.4919000
63St. Olaf7520.15112.817000
64Washington and Lee4800.0943.210000
66University of Richmond8050.13104.6515000
80University of Rochester14720.16235.5220000
81University of Chicago14260.1142.613000
86Mount Holyoke5110.1471.5418000
95Johns Hopkins13900.12166.816000
96St. Lawrence Univ.6290.16100.6422000
97College of the Holy Cross7190.15107.8521000
98Bryn Mawr3650.1347.4518000
101Siena College7660.19145.5426000
103Illinois Wesleyan5270.1684.3222000
105Notre Dame20700.120716000
106Washington & Jefferson3260.1755.4223000
108Trinity, Conn.6040.160.415000
115Connecticut College4890.1258.6819000
117Trinity University, Tex.5340.1264.0819000
121Colorado College5220.152.218000
124Wheaton, Mass.4580.1673.2825000
127University of Portland8350.16133.626000
128Stevens Institute of Tech6220.1699.5226000
130Case Western12520.15187.825000
134Hobart William Smith6380.1276.5623000
136Washington Univ St. Louis15950.07111.6517000
139Boston College23050.11253.5523000
141Union College5590.1267.0824000
142University of Scranton8780.14122.9227000
144Wake Forest12300.11135.323000
145Loyola University, Maryland10960.12131.5224000
151George Washington23480.1234.823000
154Carnegie Mellon14420.11158.6225000
155University of Denver13990.12167.8827000
158Boston University38070.12456.8427000
162Santa Clara12910.11142.0127000
167University of Miami21150.12253.829000
171Southern Methodist14280.09128.5227000
172University of Dayton17650.08141.227000
173Worcester Polytechnic Inst11030.11121.3331000
175Rhode Island School of Design4550.1568.2536000
177Texas Christian19350.06116.127000
178University of Puget Sound6700.1173.733000
179Saint Joseph’s, Pa.12720.0789.0430000

U.S. News Top 20 Publics 2009-2016: Resources, Grad Rates, Class Size

The annual U.S. News Best Colleges rankings are extremely useful and interesting, but not exactly because of the rankings themselves.

The rankings do not so much answer questions as raise them. Why did a college or university with a strong academic reputation and grad rates not do better? Why did another college with a weak academic reputation and so-so grad rates do so well? How much does class size matter?

Of course the rankings also provide great and useful stats about the questions raised above and about the test score ranges and high school GPA’s of enrolled students.

But when it comes to the rankings, what should matter most are grad and retention rates, class sizes, academic reputation, and, most problematically, the financial resources of colleges. The last should not be counted because it is the “input” factor for the other things measured as “outputs” and therefore only magnifies the impact of money.

The table below shows how the impact of “financial resources” can have such an impact on rankings. Only the College of William and Mary seems invulnerable to the typically damaging impact of low financial resources. The main reason is high grad rates, the 4th highest percentage (among top publics) of classes with 20 or fewer students, and the lowest percentage of classes with 50 or more students.  Of course, William and Mary is, by far, the smallest of the leading publics.

The University of Washington has the most puzzling combination: a financial resources ranking significantly higher than the ranking of the school. For a while now, the numbers for UW have looked odd to us, although the school itself is at least on a par with Wisconsin, Illinois, and UT Austin.

UT Austin is a more typical case. The university is penalized not only for having relatively low financial resources (per student) but also because the resulting outputs (especially class sizes) are well below the mean. That UT Austin is too large to be ranked in proportion to its academic reputation may be the fault of the powers that be in Texas; but that it is penalized as well because of the low score in financial resources is, in effect, a double whammy.

The other side of the coin, so to speak, is that magnifying the wealth metric is a built-in boost to many private universities. Most public universities, however, do relatively well only in spite of the magnification of the wealth factor.

Because of the width of the table, readers will need to scroll horizontally to see the last one or two columns. If you want to track a single school while scrolling, just select the entire row and then scroll.

NationalYRYRAvgChg 09GradClassClassPeerGr/Ret$$$
University20092016Rankto 16Rate%<20%>50RatingRankRank
N. Carolina303029.62509039.21542832
Wm Mary323432.625-29047.593.728113
Ga Tech353635.625-18238.6254.14944
UC Davis444139.87538734.8273.84732
UC Irvine443943.7558758.3203.63651
Washington 415245.5-118435.1223.85432
Penn State474745.508638.4153.63856
UT Austin475248.375-58136.52545878
Ohio St565254.2548329.6223.74971
Georgia 586160-38538.8123.440120
Mean Avg39.2540.240.06875-0.9586.943.96519.43.88537.5556.5

The UC Universities and U.S. News

The U.S. News rankings for 2016 are  something of a tribute to major University of California universities. For 2016, six UC institutions are among the top 41 national universities, though none is higher than 20th (Berkeley). But if one looks closely at the UC scores in major output categories and in the financial resources category, there are some interesting differences. Academic reputation, though not a “pure” output category, is also discussed below.

As we have noted several times on this site, by assigning weight for the amount of financial resources and for the outputs related to those resources (class size, ratios of students to faculty), the U.S. News rankings magnify wealth. The outputs alone are what should be included.

  • UC Berkeley and UCLA, ranked 20th and 23rd  overall, are strong across the board. At both schools the majority of class sections have 20 students or fewer. Both have strong academic reputations along with high grad and retention rates. What most people might not guess is that UCLA is ranked 20th among all national universities in financial resources, and Berkeley 39th.
  • UC San Diego and UC Davis, ranked 39th and 41st overall in 2016, score well below average among top 20 public universities in the class size metrics. But along with solid grad/retention rates they also rank 21st and 32nd in financial resources, providing them with a boost more typical of private universities. UC San Diego and UC Davis both score 3.8 in the rep metric.
  • UC Irvine, ranked 39th, is well-balanced overall except that its academic reputation is a relatively modest 3.6 out of 5. This compares to UC Berkeley’s 4.7 and UCLA’s 4.2.
  • UC Santa Barbara, meanwhile, has the second lowest academic rep score among the top 20 public schools, 3.5., and ranks only 67th in financial resources. But UCSB gets it done by having more smaller classes and strong grad/retention rates.

Except for some slight dropoffs in scores for academic reputation and the larger classes at Davis and San Diego, the UC campuses prosper in the rankings because they don’t have shortcomings in more than one or two metrics. And only one–UCSB–ranks worse than 60th in the questionable category of financial resources.

Two other factors that help the UC campuses in the rankings is that first-year entrants are highly qualified, both in test scores and class standing. Applicants who are not accepted as freshmen often attend community colleges and Cal State universities, and when they transfer with high GPA’s, they have a proven record that contributes to the high average grad rates at the six UC’s discussed above: 88%.

The UC approach is preferable by far to the automatic admission rules at the University of Texas at Austin, at least from the standpoint of rankings and graduation rates. The legislatively-imposed “top 10% rule” at UT (actually top 8% in 2016) leads to the admission of students whose class standing at a poor high school carries the same weight as the class standing at the most rigorous high schools.

If these students attended less demanding state universities for their first year or two and did extremely well (the California model), their chances of succeeding would likely improve. Many would not be admitted at all as freshmen to a major UC campus regardless of high school class rank because of low test scores or insufficiently demanding high school classes.

Even if UT Austin maintained its (too large) enrollment levels demanded by the legislature, having better qualified freshmen and transfers would kick up the graduation rate (now 81%). The academic reputation of UT (4.0) and, indeed the real strength of its academic departments, should place the university in the top five or six among public research institutions.

The problem in Austin is not UT; the problem is the state legislature a few blocks away.

Note: UT Austin has outstanding honors programs that concentrate the academic excellence at the university and feature much smaller classes: Plan II, Liberal Arts Honors, Business Honors, Engineering Honors, and multiple Natural Science honors programs.

Honors News is a regular (not always daily) update, in brief, of recent news from honors colleges/programs and from the world of higher ed. Occasionally, a bit of opinion enters the discussion. These brief posts are by John Willingham, unless otherwise noted. In fairness to UT Austin, of which I am an alum, the multiple honors programs there are outstanding and offset the issues with class size and graduation rates by concentrating the excellence of the university.




Payscale 2015-2016: Early Career Salaries, by University, Grad and Professional Degrees

The latest PayScale report contains a lot of extremely useful information about salaries of college grads.  But the list below, with more than 250 rows,  shows the early career pay, by graduate degree and institution because so many current and prospective honors students will end up pursuing graduate and professional degrees.

The salaries listed are for JD’s, MBA’s, Masters, and Ph.D.’s, with the last two degree types showing pay for degree holders working mostly in government and private industry. Many of these have earned Masters and Ph.D.’s in STEM disciplines.

Please note that several universities, public and private, have entries for all four categories above .


Degree TypeUniversity and Professional SchoolEarly Pay
MBAMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management131000
MBAUniversity of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business123000
MBAYale University - School of Management123000
MBAWharton School of the University of Pennsylvania122000
MBAUniversity of Chicago - Booth School of Business122000
JDHarvard Law School118000
MBAStanford University Graduate School of Business118000
MBANorthwestern University - Kellogg Business School117000
MBAHarvard Business School114000
MBADartmouth College - Tuck School of Business111000
MBAUniversity of Virginia (UVA) - Darden School of Business111000
PhDStanford University111000
PhDMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)105000
PhDCarnegie Mellon University (CMU)105000
MBAColumbia Business School104000
MBACornell University - Johnson Graduate School of Management (JGSM)104000
MBAUniversity of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management103000
PhDHarvard University103000
MBADuke University - Fuqua School of Business102000
PhDUniversity of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)102000
MBAUniversity of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business101000
PhDUniversity of California - Berkeley101000
MBAUniversity of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business100000
MBACarnegie Mellon University (CMU) - Tepper School100000
MBABabson College - F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business96900
PhDCalifornia Institute of Technology (Caltech)95600
MBAVanderbilt University - Business School94800
MBANew York University (NYU) Leonard N. Stern School of Business94700
MBAUniversity of Texas (UT) - Austin McCombs School of Business94600
PhDRensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)94000
MBAGeorgetown University McDonough - School of Business93300
PhDUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)93100
PhDPrinceton University92700
PhDGeorgia Institute of Technology92300
PhDCornell University - Ithaca, NY92000
JDUniversity of California - Hastings College of Law91700
MBAUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) - Kenan-Flagler Business School91600
PhDColumbia University90300
PhDUniversity of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)90200
Master'sUnited States Naval Postgraduate School89800
PhDPurdue University - Main Campus89500
PhDUniversity of California - Irvine (UCI)89500
PhDUniversity of Houston (UH)89400
PhDArizona State University (ASU)89200
MBAGeorgia Tech - College of Management88800
PhDUniversity of Massachusetts (UMass) - Amherst Campus88500
MBAUniversity of Southern California - Marshall School of Business88300
PhDUniversity of Michigan - Ann Arbor88100
PhDUniversity of California - Davis (UC Davis)87900
JDUniversity of Houston Law Center87400
MBAUniversity of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management86900
PhDUniversity of Texas (UT) - Austin86900
MBATexas Christian University (TCU) - Neeley School of Business86700
MBASanta Clara University - Leavey School of Business86600
PhDUniversity of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison86600
PhDUniversity of Minnesota - Twin Cities86100
MBABoston University - School of Management85900
PhDUniversity of Florida (UF)85900
MBAVillanova University - Villanova School of Business85800
MBABoston College - Wallace E. Carroll School of Management85500
PhDUniversity of California - San Diego (UCSD)85300
PhDJohns Hopkins University85200
MBAEmory University - Goizueta Business School85100
MBAUniversity of California Davis (UC Davis) - Graduate School of Management85000
PhDRice University84900
PhDUniversity of Rochester84700
MBAUniversity of Washington (UW) - Foster School of Business84200
MBABrigham Young University (BYU) - Marriott School of Business84100
PhDYale University84100
Master'sUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center83800
MBAWake Forest School of Business83800
Master'sStanford University83400
PhDPennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Main Campus83300
PhDUniversity of Southern California (USC)83200
PhDNorth Carolina State University (NCSU)82900
PhDVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)82500
MBAUniversity of California Irvine (UCI) - Paul Merage School of Business82400
PhDTexas A&M University - Main Campus82400
PhDUniversity of Utah82300
PhDUniversity of Maryland - College Park82100
PhDDuke University82100
MBASouthern Methodist University (SMU) - Cox School of Business81900
PhDUniversity of Colorado - Boulder (CU)81900
PhDMichigan State University (MSU)81900
MBAUniversity of California San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management81700
PhDOhio State University (OSU) - Main Campus81600
JDGeorgetown University Law Center81500
JDSanta Clara University School of Law81300
MBAOhio State University (OSU) - Fisher College of Business81100
Master'sCarnegie Mellon University (CMU)81000
JDUniversity of Texas at Austin School of Law80900
Master'sMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)80900
PhDUniversity of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus80900
PhDUniversity of Notre Dame80700
MBAUniversity of Connecticut (Uconn) - School of Business80600
PhDUniversity of Central Florida (UCF)80600
MBAThunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management80500
PhDUniversity of Pennsylvania80400
JDUniversity of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) - College of Law80300
PhDUniversity of Pittsburgh - Main Campus80200
JDBrooklyn Law School80100
MBAKelley School of Business, Indiana University80000
MBAUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) College of Business80000
Master'sSanta Clara University79700
MBAUniversity of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business79700
PhDAuburn University79500
PhDBoston University79400
MBAGeorge Washington University (GWU) - School of Business79200
MBAThe University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business79200
PhDUniversity of Washington (UW) - Main Campus79000
MBATulane University - A.B. Freeman School of Business78700
Master'sSan Jose State University (SJSU)78500
PhDUniversity of Arizona78300
PhDUniversity of Illinois at Chicago78300
PhDIndiana University (IU) - Bloomington78200
MBAPepperdine University - Graziadio School of Business and Management77900
JDPepperdine University School of Law77700
MBABentley University - McCallum Graduate School of Business77600
JDGeorge Washington University Law School77100
PhDUniversity of Tennessee77100
JDBoston University School of Law76800
MBAUniversity of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison School of Business76800
PhDIowa State University76800
MBAUniversity of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business76600
PhDWashington State University (WSU)76600
JDMcGeorge School of Law76300
PhDClarkson University - Potsdam, NY76300
JDUniversity of Southern California Law Center and Law Library76200
JDFordham University School of Law76200
Master'sKettering University76200
MBAVirginia Commonwealth School of Business76000
PhDUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)75800
MBAWashington University - Olin Business School75600
JDSouthern Methodist University School of Law75500
MBAUniversity of Rochester - Simon School of Business75100
Master'sUniversity of South Alabama75000
JDUniversity of California at Berkeley School of Law74900
PhDRutgers University - New Brunswick Campus74800
MBAFordham University - Gabelli School of Business74700
MBAThe College of William and Mary - Mason School of Business74700
JDUniversity of Miami School of Law74600
Master'sCornell University - Ithaca, NY74500
PhDUniversity of Connecticut (UConn) - Main Campus74500
JDUniversity of Washington (UW) School of Law74000
MBARutgers Business School74000
MBAPurdue University - Krannert School of Management73900
Master'sGeorgia Institute of Technology73800
MBAUniversity of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics73800
JDSt. John's University School of Law, New York73700
MBANortheastern University - D'Amore-McKim School of Business73400
JDSeton Hall University School of Law73300
MBAMichigan State University - Broad College of Business73300
MBACUNY Bernard M Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business73200
JDUniversity of San Diego (USD) School of Law73100
Master'sStevens Institute of Technology73000
MBALehigh University College of Business and Economics72900
JDEmory University School of Law72700
MBAUniversity of Arizona - Eller College of Management72400
MBAPennsylvania State University (PSU) - Smeal College of Business72300
MBASuffolk University - Sawyer School of Management72100
Master'sRochester Institute of Technology (RIT)71900
MBAArizona State University (ASU) - W. P. Carey School of Business71900
MBAUniversity of Massachusetts (UMass) - Boston Campus71900
MBALoyola Marymount College of Business Administration71800
PhDNorthwestern University71700
MBAJohns Hopkins University - Carey Business School71400
PhDVanderbilt University71300
JDLoyola Law School71200
Master'sWorcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)71100
JDUniversity of North Carolina (UNC) School of Law71000
MBAGeorge Mason University - School of Management71000
MBAUniversity of Colorado Boulder (UCB) - Leeds School of Business70900
MBAUniversity of Arkansas - Sam M. Walton College of Business70900
JDUniversity of Illinois College of Law70700
Master'sPurdue University - Main Campus70700
MBAOklahoma State University (OSU) - Spears School of Business70700
MBACase Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management70600
MBAUniversity of Miami School of Business (Florida)70500
MBAUniversity of Georgia (UGA) - Terry College of Business70500
Master'sManhattan College70400
Master'sNYU Polytechnic School of Engineering70200
Master'sUniversity of California - Berkeley70100
Master'sMissouri University of Science and Technology (S&T)70000
MBAAmerican University - Kogod School of Business70000
Master'sEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) - Daytona Beach, FL69900
MBAUniversity of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management69900
MBAClarkson University - Clarkson School of Business69700
MBAUniversity of Houston (UH) - C.T. Bauer College of Business69600
PhDColorado State University (CSU)69400
Master'sUniversity of Texas at Dallas69300
MBATexas State University - San Marcos Campus69200
Master'sMedical University of South Carolina69100
MBAUniversity of Florida (UF) - Warrington College of Business69100
JDSeattle University School of Law68900
JDUniversity of Connecticut (UConn) School of Law68700
MBADuquesne University - A.J. Palumbo School of Bus Admin and John F. Donahue Grad School of Bus68700
JDDetroit College of Law at Michigan State University68600
MBADrexel University - Bennett S. LeBow College of Business68600
Master'sMichigan Technological University68500
MBATexas A&M University - Mays Business School68500
MBAUniversity of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business68400
JDAmerican University Washington College of Law68300
MBAUniversity of St. Thomas - Opus College of Business68300
Master'sColorado School of Mines68200
Master'sGannon University68200
Master'sUniversity of California - Irvine (UCI)67900
Master'sVanderbilt University67900
MBASan Francisco State University (SFSU) - College of Business67900
MBAClemson University - College of Business and Behavioral Science67800
Master'sPrinceton University67700
Master'sLehigh University67700
Master'sUniversity of Michigan - Dearborn Campus67700
Master'sTufts University67700
Master'sIllinois Institute of Technology (IIT)67500
MBASan Jose State University (SJSU) - College of Business, and Lucas Graduate School of Business67500
JDUniversity of Florida (UF) Levin College of Law67400
Master'sUniversity of Southern California (USC)67400
Master'sPennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Great Valley Campus67400
JDTemple University School of Law67300
Master'sRensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)67300
Master'sCalifornia Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo67300
Master'sClarkson University - Potsdam, NY67200
Master'sUniversity of Colorado at Colorado Springs67200
MBAWayne State University - Detroit, MI67100
Master'sUniversity of Alabama - Huntsville Campus67000
Master'sTexas A&M University - Main Campus67000
MBAUniversity of New Haven67000
MBADePaul University - Kellstadt Graduate School of Business66900
Master'sNortheastern University66800
MBAOakland University - Rochester Hills, MI66700
MBAWestminster College - Salt Lake City, UT66700
JDUniversity of Minnesota Law School66600
MBAUniversity of Kansas - School of Business66500
JDUniversity of Denver College of Law66400
Master'sNew Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)66400
PhDFlorida State University (FSU)66400
Master'sUniversity of California - San Diego (UCSD)66300
Master'sIdaho State University (ISU)66200
MBASan Diego State University (SDSU) - College of Business Administration66200
MBASt. Xavier University66200
JDNew England School of Law66100
Master'sDuke University66100
Master'sBowie State University (BSU)66100
JDTulane Law School65700
MBATemple University - Fox School of Business and Management65700
MBAUniversity of Utah - David Eccles School of Business65600
Master'sJohns Hopkins University65500
Master'sUniversity of Colorado - Boulder (CU)65500
Master'sNorth Carolina State University (NCSU)65500
MBASUNY Albany - School of Business65500
JDJohn Marshall Law School - Chicago, IL65400
Master'sUniversity of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)65400
Master'sUniversity of Houston (UH)65400
Master'sPhiladelphia University65300
JDCalifornia Western School of Law65200
Master'sUniversity of Massachusetts (UMass) - Lowell Campus65200
MBAFlorida State University (FSU) - College of Business65200
MBAGeorgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business65100
MBASeattle University - Albers School of Business and Economics65100
Master'sBentley University65000
Master'sPurdue University - Calumet Campus65000
MBACalifornia State University East Bay (CSUEB) - College of Business and Economics65000
MBALoyola University of Chicago - Quinlan School of Business65000
MBAUniversity of Denver - Business School65000


Honors News: August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015–The response to Frank Bruni’s column yesterday on the public honors option has been strong and enthusiastic, but a bit of clarification is in order.

First, the distinctions between honors colleges and honors programs are not always pronounced. Many honors programs have been around longer than honors colleges and have, for various reasons, chosen to retain their original names and structure. Among these many prominent programs are the University of Michigan LS&A Honors Program, the UT Austin Plan II Honors Program, and the UVA Echols Scholars Program. All are rated at 5.0 “mortarboards” on a scale of 5.0. They join ASU Barrett Honors College, Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, the South Carolina Honors College, and the Kansas University Honors Program to round out the group of seven colleges/programs rated 5.0.

Our page Top Honors Programs also lists an additional 14 honors colleges and programs that received a 4.5 rating.

Second, we do not rank programs or colleges (from now on we will use the generic term “programs”) because, after attempting to do so in 2012, I realized that ordinal rankings, especially with respect to honors programs, are more likely to exhibit artificial distinctions rather than reflect any qualitative differences. That is why we “rate” with the 5 mortarboard system and do not “rank” numerically.

Honors News is a regular (not always daily) update, in brief, of recent news from honors colleges/programs and from the world of higher ed. Occasionally, a bit of opinion enters the discussion. These brief posts are by John Willingham, unless otherwise noted.


Forbes College Rankings 2015: Still Unfriendly to Public Universities

The 2015 Forbes America’s Best Colleges rankings are out, and there is a new wrinkle in the methodology: The magazine “ran a targeted student satisfaction survey on Facebook. Respondents were asked where they attended school and how satisfied they were with their experience on a scale from 1 to 5.” The result yielded 2.5% of the total score, and was incorporated into the 25% subtotal in the “Student Satisfaction” metric.

We do not know exactly what “a targeted student satisfaction survey” is, but throwing something new into a ranking system helps to sustain interest. The survey didn’t help public universities overall. The average ranking of the public universities listed in the top 100 dropped more than 14 places in just two years. Only William & Mary rose during that time. Incredibly (literally), the Penn State ranking has fallen 59 places in two years; Maryland and Washington 20 and 21 places respectively. What could have happened in only two years to create such results?

For 2014, Forbes or, rather, the very conservative Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), which does the work for the magazine, increased the weight of the student debt factor from 17.5% to 25%.  At the same time, the weight for “Academic Success” went down modestly, from 11.25% to 10%.  Both of these probably hurt public universities: the debt, because state support still has not caught up with costs; the academic success because CCAP counts National Science Foundation Fellowships and Fulbright awards, many of which are won by students and faculty at public research universities.

(We have been and remain critical of the Forbes rankings, but at least they focus on outputs, however murky or dubious those may be. The do not use selectivity–an increasingly problematic U.S. News metric.)

In 2013, we wrote that the Forbes America’s Best Colleges rankings had suddenly become more friendly to public universities after several years of relegating many of them to the high three figures in the numerical rankings.  In that year, 19 public universities (not counting the military academies) made it into the top 100; in 2014, that number dropped to only 14. This year 13 were among the top 100.

Although UC Berkeley, UVA, Michigan, and North Carolina all improved slightly in 2015, they are still, on average, more than 10 places below where they were only two years ago.

It is not unusual for anyone who ranks or evaluates colleges to make changes in their ranking methodologies.  We have done the same for our curret edition of the Review, although we did not use numerical rankings this time around.

At least the bizarre rankings that marked the Forbes list for the first few years have mostly gone away.  No longer do we see, for example, a university ranked 320th one year and rise to 168th the next.  And it is good to keep in mind that the Forbes rankings lump all private and public universities and liberal arts colleges into one huge group; so a Forbes ranking of, say, 65 or 70 for a public university is a much stronger ranking than a U.S. News “national university ranking” in the same range.

Still, it is difficult to understand how some of the public universities could have dropped so far in just two or three years. The graduation rate value of 7.5% of the total, not adjusted for schools (e.g., Georgia Tech) with high numbers of engineering students, is punishing for some schools. Georgia Tech now has fallen 10 places since 2013, all the way down to 93.

Below are the Forbes rankings of public universities that were in the top 100 in 2013. The first parenthesis is the 2013 ranking, the second is the 2014 ranking, and the third is the 2015 ranking.

U.S. Military Academy— (7) (9) (11)

UC Berkeley— (22) (37) (35)

U.S. Naval Academy (28) (27) (27)

Virginia (29) (40) (36)

Michigan (30) (45) (41)

U.S. Air Force Academy (31) (34) (38)

UCLA (34) (44) (45)

UNC Chapel Hill (38) (50) (49)

William & Mary (44) (41) (39)

Illinois (53) (68) (68)

Washington (55) (73) (76)

UT Austin (66) (76) (82)

Wisconsin  (68) (70) (69)

Maryland  (73) (82) (93)

Florida (74) (87) (83)

Georgia Tech (83) (90) (93)

Georgia (90) (94) (102)

Penn State (93) (166) (152)

UC Santa Barbara (96) (116) (103)

Indiana (97) (107) (112)

UC Davis (99) (113) (121)