Graduate Earnings Now Affect College Rankings


A lot of publications have released their yearly list of college rankings. A new trend has risen, though, as earnings of each graduate from the school can now affect its score.

The New York Times reported that the data on how much a school's graduate earns after college has changed the way American students and their families choose their prospective colleges. The data has found its way into several mainstream college rankings.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Times Higher Education (THE) released its Top College Rankings. Stanford University took the top spot as the best college in the U.S.

Stanford is described as a school that will engage their minds, has a diverse student body and has plenty of resources for students' education. The school is deemed as having "deep pockets, intellectually engaged students and solid student outcomes."

The WSJ/THE rankings are based on 15 factors across four categories. 40 percent of each college's overall score came from student outcomes, which included how they did after leaving the school. 30 percent was based on the school's resources while 20 percent was taken from how well the institution engages with its students. 10 percent of the score came from the learning environment or diversity.

The NYTimes noted that, last year, The Economist released its first college rankings which relied heavily on earnings data. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has also issued another set of rankings with an adjustment on the College Scorecard putting salary rankings first for a students' choice of major.

PayScale has also readjusted its rankings by including the percentage of students who major in areas other than high-paying science, technology, engineering and math and their respective salary data. The website included the percentage of graduates who found "high meaning" in their work as well.

U.S. News, however, does not use earnings data and other outcomes for its rankings. The publication primarily focuses on reputation and selectivity.

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