main navigation
my pace
Administration

College and University Rankings

OPAIR provides data to the United States Department of Education and a variety of other organizations that compile profiles, guidebooks, and rankings. 

In general there is wide variation in the data definitions and criteria that inform these rankings, including information collected from publically available sources (such as IPEDS), detailed surveys that Pace completes with its own data, and reputational surveys completed by peer institutions or high-school counselors.

The various college rankings are based on variables that the organizations doing the rankings believe are important or reflect quality.  There is no universal set of variables on which everyone agrees. Therefore, an institution can appear near the top of one ranking list, while appearing far from the top on another. 

There has been a recent proliferation of rankings. Below are the institution-wide rankings that Pace views as important to participate in and which are used in marketing. There are many other “lists” and “rankings” in which Pace may be included. OPAIR will continue to update this web page with rankings deemed useful.


U. S. News “Best Colleges” Rankings

U.S. News published its first “Best Colleges” ranking in 1983.  Since 1985, the rankings are published annually.  Data used in the rankings comes mostly from information reported directly to U.S. News from the schools who complete an extensive questionnaire sent to the institutions by U.S. News. U.S. News also considers opinion surveys of peer institutions and high-school counselors.


The Equality of Opportunity Project – Mobility Report Cards

“Which colleges in America contribute the most to helping children climb the income ladder?”  A recent report released by The Equality of Opportunity Project takes a step towards answering that question by constructing mobility report cards – statistics on graduates’ earnings when they are in their early thirties and their parents’ incomes – for each college. The Equality of Opportunity Project “document and characterize differences in rates of upward mobility between colleges by defining a college’s upward mobility rate as the fraction of its students who come from a family in the bottom fifth of the income distribution and end up in the top fifth.”  Each college’s mobility rate is the product of access, the fraction of its students who come from families in the bottom quintile, and its success rate, the fraction of students who reach the top income quintile.  Hence the formula is Mobility Rate = (Access X Success Rate). 


PayScale College Salary Report

All data used to produce PayScale’s College Survey Report was collected from employees who completed PayScale’s salary survey.  Survey respondents provided data about their jobs, compensation, employer, demographics, and educational background.


The Princeton Review Best Colleges

The Princeton Review College Ratings are numerical scores that are given to all colleges that appear in their “Best Colleges” book.  Rating scores are based primarily on surveys of school administrators and institutional data requested by The Princeton Review and provided by the schools. The Princeton review also publishes ranking lists, which are based entirely on student surveys.


Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

Ranking data for the WSJ/THE College Rankings comes from a variety of sources; IPEDS, the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Center, the College Scoreboard, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as well as the THE U.S. student survey, the THE Academic Reputation Survey, and Elsevier’s bibliometric dataset.


Niche College Rankings

The Niche College Rankings are “based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with … reviews from students and alumni.”

Pace’s rating includes 1,885 student and alumni reviews as of November 2017.


Forbes Top Colleges Rankings

Forbes College ranking places its focus on the direct benefits a college or university provides its students. Forbes favors output over input. Forbes focuses on variables like alumni salary, graduation rate, and student satisfaction, rather than metrics such as acceptance rate, endowment, and SAT scores. The goal is to highlight the institutions that deliver the best return on your education investment dollars.


College Scorecard

The College Scorecard is not a ranking, but rather a tool that “provides data to help students and families compare college costs and outcomes as they weigh the tradeoffs of different colleges, account for their own needs and educational goals.” The College Scorecard includes data that provides “insights into the performance of institutions that receive federal financial aid dollars and the outcomes of the students of those institutions.” The College Scorecard includes data on college completion, debt and repayment statistics, and post-college earnings. Many elements in the Scorecard are available only for students who receive federal grants and loans.


College Factual College Rankings

College Factual College Rankings are outcomes focused, do not rely on subjective survey data, are not divided into arbitrary lists, and are inclusive of all colleges they have data on. The College Factual College Rankings are a tool to help students begin their college search.  In addition to the rankings, College Factual awards “Ranking Badges” to institutions.  As of November 2017, Pace has 68 badges.


OnlineColleges.com Top Online Colleges

OnlineColleges.com collected IPEDS data on more than 2,800 accredited colleges and universities and then analyzed it using their “unique methodology.” The colleges and universities are then ranked using OnlineColleges.com ranking criteria. 

Best College Review Rankings

Best College Review rankings focus on online college programs.  Core tenets of Best College Review rankings include Flexibility, Affordability, Online Learning Best Practices, and Academic Reputation.