Our Data Sources
We use following official sources for our data collection:
Our University Selection/Ranking Methodology
We use the following comprehensive data points to select/rank colleges and universities to provide a more complete understanding of each institution's strengths and weaknesses:
- Type of institution (e.g. Public, Private - Nonprofit, Private - For-profit): This classification helps distinguish between the various kinds of higher education institutions and their respective funding structures.
- Size of institution: This refers to the overall number of enrolled students, including both undergraduate and graduate populations. A larger institution may provide a broader array of programs and resources, while a smaller institution might offer a more tailored educational experience.
- Ratio of students to faculty: This metric indicates the average number of students per faculty member, giving an idea of the level of individual attention and support that students can anticipate from their instructors.
- Average yearly cost: This figure represents the total annual cost of attendance, incorporating tuition, fees, room and board, and other relevant expenses. More affordable costs can make higher education more accessible to a wider range of students.
- Median earnings after graduation: This statistic shows the median salary of graduates from each institution after a set period (usually 10 years). Higher median earnings may imply better job opportunities and return on investment for students.
- Graduation rate: This represents the percentage of students who complete their degree program within a set time frame, typically six years for a four-year bachelor's degree. Higher graduation rates suggest better student outcomes and institutional support.
- First-year retention rate: This is the percentage of first-year students who continue to their second year at the same institution. Higher retention rates imply that students are content with their experience and the institution's capacity to support their academic success.
- Average debt: This figure indicates the average amount of student loan debt accumulated by graduates of each institution. Lower debt levels can make achieving financial stability after graduation more feasible for students.
- Default rate: This is the percentage of students who default on their student loans within a set period, typically three years after starting repayment. Lower default rates suggest that graduates are better prepared to manage their debt responsibly.
- Number of undergraduate students: This data point represents the total number of students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs at the institution. It offers an insight into the overall size and scope of the undergraduate population.
- Proportion of full-time students: This metric measures the share of students engaged in full-time study compared to part-time students. A higher proportion can indicate a more conventional college experience, with students attending classes and participating in campus life more consistently.
- Socio-economic diversity: This factor evaluates the representation of students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds within the institution. A varied student body can provide a more inclusive and enriching learning environment.
- Acceptance rate: This is the percentage of applicants who are accepted into the institution. Lower acceptance rates can suggest a more selective admissions process and potentially higher academic standards.
These data points, when considered together, provide a comprehensive picture of the quality, affordability, and outcomes associated with each college and university, helping students make informed decisions about their higher education choices.
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