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The Economist measures colleges' value added.

NotVerySmartNotVerySmart Registered User Posts: 1,670 Senior Member
"To measure a university’s economic value, you need to compare the salaries of its graduates with the wages they might have earned had they studied elsewhere.

That figure cannot be known for sure, but [the federal government's recently released] scorecard makes it possible to produce an estimate. The Economist has built a model that, for each of 1,308 colleges, predicts the median earnings in 2011 of employed former students who applied for federal loans in 2001, based on the characteristics of each institution and its intake. The model both identifies the attributes shared by universities that produce lots of rich graduates, and predicts alumni wages for each college. Actual earnings can then be assessed against this benchmark."

The Economist consistently produces interesting articles, but this one stood out to me. The gist of what they've done (explained in more detail in the article) is this: produce a prediction for each college's average alumni earnings, based on the SAT scores, location, and majors of their freshman classes, then compare that prediction to the actual figure.

The results are quite surprising at times. Yale is a poor performer by this measure, while Lehigh is on a par with Harvard. If nothing else, this is an approach different from that taken by US News or The Princeton Review.

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