BREAKING: U.S. News rankings get major updates

Today’s rankings and profiles reveal crucial metrics like campus crime rates, student loan defaults

us-news-rankingsIn what could be considered a smart move for U.S. News & World report, the publication’s 2015 college rankings are, for the first time, including statistics on student loan defaults, campus crime, as well as heavily weighting factors part of the methodology that include graduation and retention rates.

The 2015 edition of the rankings—also U.S. News’ 30th edition of the “Best Colleges”—includes data on nearly 1,800 schools in the nation, and outcome-related measures account for 30 percent of the rankings and are the most heavily weighted.

2015 rankings include categories such as: “Best Value Schools,” “Campus Ethnic Diversity,” “Economic Diversity,” “Up-and-Coming Schools,” “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” as well as all of the more traditional rankings the publication is known for.

Discussing the recent shift to more value-based rankings, as well as the focus on student loans, Anita Narayan, education editor, said “How to plan and pay for college is a challenge parents around the country face each year. Our…resources are designed to help families more easily navigate this complex process, from saving for college and understanding financial aid options to paying off student loans.”

“Over the past 20 years, more than 31 million students have dropped out of colleges, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center,” explained Susannah Snider, education reporter for U.S. News. “That’s why choosing a college that fits academically and financially is so important.”

(Next page: The rankings and how the new focus works)