The economic value added to students’ lives by attending specific US colleges has been calculated for a non-profit organisation’s university ranking system.
Educate to Career (ETC), a non-profit that provides data resources relating to education and career outcomes, used a variety of metrics to measure the improvement in earnings and employability of graduates against the total cost of their education.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill came out on top of the 2015 rankings. The top 10 otherwise features two Californian universities, two institutions in Virginia, and other universities spread across the country.
The score for “economic value added” takes into account the average salaries of recent graduates, the proportion of graduates employed within one year of graduation, the proportion of graduates employed in a field related to their studies and other qualities that measure educational and economic success.
Public state colleges generally perform well by these measures.
In a set of “frequently asked questions” released last week, ETC explained that state institutions offer excellent value for money, given their high-quality education and relatively low fees.
It said: “Academic standards are uniformly high in most state schools, and a relatively high percentage of their graduates enter the workforce successfully, with meaningful occupations and high relative salaries.
“Additionally, graduates from these state schools typically have low debt loads, which translate ultimately to low loan default rates.”
Interestingly, the eight Ivy League universities do not perform so well with respect to adding economic value to students’ lives.
The highest ranked Ivy is Harvard, in position 51. But the average rank between all eight prestigious institutions is 206.
According to Educate to Career, these results show that the best students do not generally improve their potential by attending the most competitive universities.
It said: “The ‘elite’ schools typically admit only students with the highest SAT scores. Very high achieving students tend to perform well in the workforce, regardless of where they attend college and even if they do not attend college.
“Our data show that many elite schools in the US are more adept at selecting winners than they are in creating winners.”
Nine of the top 20 in ETC's ranking also feature in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16. UC Berkeley and UCLA are both ranked within the best 20 universities in the world, while the top institution for Economic Value Added - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - is one of the best 100 universities in the world.
|1||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||99.8||Chapel Hill||NC|
|2||University of California, Irvine||97||Irvine||CA|
|3||University of Virginia, Main Campus||96.8||Charlottesville||VA|
|4||William and Mary||96.8||Williamsburg||VA|
|5||Citadel Military College of South Carolina||95.6||Charleston||SC|
|6||University of Michigan, Ann Arbor||95.2||Ann Arbor||MI|
|7||University of Florida||95.1||Gainesville||FL|
|8||University of New Hampshire, Main Campus||95.1||Durham||NH|
|9||University of Vermont||95||Burlington||VT|
|10||University of California, Los Angeles||94.9||Los Angeles||CA|
|11||James Madison University||94.8||Harrisonburg||VA|
|12||Bob Jones University||94.7||Greenville||SC|
|13||California State University, San Marcos||94.6||San Marcos||CA|
|15||The College of New Jersey||94.5||Ewing||NJ|
|16||University of California, Merced||94.5||Merced||CA|
|17||California State University, Los Angeles||94.2||Los Angeles||CA|
|18||Saint Johns University||94.1||Collegeville||MN|
|19||University of California, Berkeley||94.1||Berkeley||CA|
|20||University of Connecticut||94||Storrs||CT|
See the full table here.