Alternative to the U.S. News College Rankings: Best Bang for Your Buck

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

A welcome alternative to the U.S. News college rankings.

If you’re looking for an alternative to the U. S. News rankings of colleges, the Washington Monthly offers one.

texas a&m students

The U. S. News rankings generally focus on how much money goes into colleges, which mostly benefits administrators. Conversely, the Washington Monthly also looked at what students get out of college.

Thus, the Washington Monthly guide gives higher marks to lesser-known schools which those who look at the U. S. News rankings might normally not encounter. The Washington Monthly guide rated schools on, among other things:

  • Student loan default rate
  • Graduation rates
  • Net price for all students
  • Net price for family with annual income from $0-$30,000
  • Net price for family with annual income between $30,000-$75,000
  • Net price for family with annual income above $75,000
  • Percentage of applicants admitted

The range of overall scores is between 0 – 14, but only one school (the Michigan Jewish Institute) scored a 14 overall score. Here are the top schools per region:


  • CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College (NY)
  • Rutgers University-Camden (New Jersey)


  • Berea College (Kentucky)
  • Texas A&M University at College Station


  • East Carolina University
  • North Carolina State University


  • Michigan Jewish Institute
  • College of the Ozarks (Missouri)


  • University of Washington-Seattle
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho