College Guide


September 01, 2009 9:45 PM Welcome

Welcome to the Washington Monthly's College Guide site.

By Paul Glastris

I’d like to welcome you all to the Washington Monthly’s College Guide website and blog. Our aim is for this site to be your one-stop-shop for information about higher education reform. Since 2005, the Washington Monthly has sought to steer the national conversation about higher education away from a maniacal focus on elite schools that is the abiding obsession of the mainstream press and towards the less selective (but often wonderful) rank-and-file colleges and universities where most Americans actually get their educations. This site is the latest step in that effort.

We’re looking to do a few different things here:

· Highlight the Monthly’s annual college rankings, which rate schools not based on crude and easily-manipulated measures of money and prestige, like certain other magazines do, but rather on their contributions to society. Are they producing cutting-edge scientific research and PhDs? Do they steer their graduates into public-service jobs? Do they recruit economically disadvantaged students and help them graduate, or merely cater to the affluent? On these measures, the elite schools don’t do so well. For instance, only one of U.S. News & World Report’s top ten universities—Stanford—makes the Washington Monthly’s top ten, while some institutions that rank high on our list, like South Carolina State (#6) and Jackson State (#22), are buried in the bottom tier of the U.S. News list. We hope you’ll take the time to look at some of the surprising results our methodology led to.

· Show off some of the great articles our editors and contributors have written for this year’s edition of the College Guide, from Kevin Carey’s report on the fight brewing over the next generation of cheap online college courses to Mariah Blake’s recounting of how the billionaire founder of Domino’s Pizza built, then destroyed, an elite Catholic law school.

· Provide a blog to help keep you abreast on all the latest news in the long-running fight to make higher ed more accountable, productive, and equitable. Check back here often, as our web editor Jesse Singal and a number of outside contributors will be keeping the blog fresh with a constant stream of higher-ed news and analysis.

We hope you enjoy your time exploring the site. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.


  • veblen on September 05, 2009 3:49 PM:

    p>The Pell Grant percentage that you use for Penn State, 25%, is the system-wide number not the University Park number which likely would to be closer to 15%. The actual graduation rate that you use is the University Park number which is likely to be higher than the system-wide number, which is not reported anywhere, but some branch campus numbers are thirties. Consequently, you have overestimated the grad rate differential for Penn State. If this estimation were done correctly my guess is that Penn State would drop out of the top ten in your rankings

    More here.