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Kiplinger's Best College Values, 2018

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Replies to: Kiplinger's Best College Values, 2018

  • Data10Data10 3307 replies11 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    Wish we could dive deeper and see why a school is graduating or not graduating in 4 years. For example, does it take longer than 4 years because it's hard to register for necessary classes or is it because the school promotes study abroad and internships?
    STEM schools are disfavored because engineers often take 4.5-5 years to graduate
    In the case of highly selective colleges, lower graduation rates can often relate to more complex degree options than 1 BS or 1 BA. For example, ~40% of CS/Engineering majors at Stanford choose to do a co-terminal masters where they simultaneously work towards both a master's and bachelor's. Most of these students take 5 years to graduate, which drives down Stanford's 4-year graduation rate. Using the co-term years graduation stats at https://engineering.stanford.edu/admission-aid/coterminal-study-engineering, I'd estimate that the 4-year graduation rate at Stanford would increase from ~76% to ~95% if co-terminal master's students are excluded. If you exclude both persons in more complex degree options and recruited athletes (particularly ones who redshirt in their first year), I'd expect close to 100%.
    edited February 2018
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  • Data10Data10 3307 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Aren't they also favored for high early-career salaries though?
    they are looking at 10 year out salaries. That includes everyone with graduate & professional degrees, so I think the difference is minimal.
    Salaries are not considered in the rankings. The methodology states:
    we don’t include the salary figures in calculating each school’s rank. Still, the information offers a way to gauge earnings outcomes at various schools and a starting point for your estimates.
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  • Data10Data10 3307 replies11 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    While such lists may be interesting to discuss, this type of "best value" ranking are near irrelevant for individuals because they do not consider individuals financial situations. For example, Princeton is ranked first in the list. One key factor in their ranking is most students at Princeton receive need based aid, and the average need based aid amount is nearly $50k. If you are receiving $50k of aid per year, then Princeton is a great value. If you are full pay, then a lower sticker price college is likely going to be a better value. Best value is highly dependent on an individual's net price.

    The ranking list seems highly dependent on graduation rate. Graduation rate is largely driven by the individual, not the college. HYPSM... primarily have a high graduation rate because they are admitting top students, not because the school is facilitating the graduation rate. If a particular student chooses to attend a safety instead of HYPSM... he's going to have a high chance of graduation rate, like he would at HYPSM... His chance of graduation is not going to drop down to the low rate at the safety. Similarly if a kid who barely passes HS is somehow admitted to HYPSM, he's not going to have a high chance of graduating on time, regardless of what the overall graduating rate is at the college. As mentioned in my earlier post, colleges that have lower graduation rates than expected based on stats of incoming students often have a good reason that most would consider a positive, such as encouraging students to pursue co-ops, or making it easy to do co-terminal master's . I also question some of the listed stat numbers. For example, Stanford's website suggests a median student debt of ~$7k, far less than the listed $20k.

    In short, I'd recommend choosing colleges based on the criteria that is important to you, your individual financial situation, the strength of your desired program, ... not because of an arbitrary ranking on some website.
    edited February 2018
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  • CU123CU123 3701 replies77 threads Senior Member
    This looks like really shoddy work, I know for a fact UChicago gives non need merit aid, but in the column it shows 0. The opposite is true for the Brown, Stanford and Harvard but then they say they do give non need aid. I might be missing how they figured this but their is no explanation. They don't go into any depth on their methodology so I look at this as complete junk. If they can't get the data right.................
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  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 1011 replies3 threads Senior Member
    What I think would be more useful is a calculator. "Pat just got into X school for X amount of money. They also have an offfer at Y school for Y amount of money and Z college for Z total cost. Which, given Kiplinger's metrics, is a better value."

    Cause otherwise, this is another variation on: Here are some tops schools! Yay! I mean, I certainly hope any student chosing to apply to Princeton over CIT is doing it due to specifics of program, locaton, size etc. not "Look! Kiplinger says Princeton is the better value!"
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  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 1011 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Also, how does Harvard give an average of 24k in non-need based aid? I didn't know Harvard gave out that kind of merit aid.
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