America’s worst colleges may surprise you–here’s why

New ranking aims to stimulate discussion on what today’s metrics for institutional success should really be and why


What are the most important factors influencing higher education success? Low net price tuition cost? Great graduation rates? Low student loan default rates?

If a student is interested in scholastic prestige, he or she could consult rankings from the U.S. News and World Report. If a student values “student satisfaction” and “post-graduate success,” they should see what Forbes has to say. And if a student wants to know an alumni’s social media klout, thanks to their Wikipedia page, they should read TIME’s new controversial ranking system.

However, if students are more interested in what universities are doing for the nation as a whole rather than just the individual, they may be intrigued by findings in a new college ranking by the New American Foundation and Washington Monthly magazine.

These rankings list the “worst colleges” based on graduation rates and tuition costs in an attempt to answer the question: Are students receiving a maximum return on their college investment?

For these colleges, the answer is ‘apparently not,’ according to the new ranking system. 

Click here to view Washington Monthly’s complete ranking and watch the conversation below.

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(Next page: How socioeconomics and ethnicity impact college rankings)

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