SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CollegeAtlas.org, the encyclopedia of higher education, announced today the release of its “A-List,” a ranking of the top 100 universities nationwide, as well as four regional lists, that emphasize three factors that students and parents care about most: low tuition, a strong academic reputation, and a reasonable shot at acceptance.
“The schools at the top of traditional college rankings are exclusive and expensive,” said Branden Neish, General Manager of CollegeAtlas.org. “That’s great for students with 4.0 GPAs and sky-high test scores, but there are other amazing universities out there that provide high-quality academics, with higher acceptance rates and a reasonable price tag.”
It is no secret that the top-ranked universities are hard to get into, and they are raising tuition every year. In this economy, traditional college rankings are missing the mark by awarding universities with high tuition as top ‘Bang for your Buck’ schools, with some ‘economic value’ rankings listing schools like Harvard, Princeton and Yale among the top five. These schools have between 6-8 percent acceptance rates and only enroll a few thousand undergraduate students per year. The A-List uses a new ranking methodology to shine a spotlight on universities that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle, resulting in a lineup of colleges and universities that deliver the best academic and economic value to students, while admitting a relatively high percentage of applicants.
In a speech at the University at Buffalo this August, President Obama suggested a rating system that would judge institutions of higher learning "not just by which is the most selective, not just by which is the most expensive, not just by the one with the best facilities," he said, "but by the one that is the biggest bang for the buck."
CollegeAtlas is the first to deliver the type of list President Obama mentioned. In creating the list, CollegeAtlas takes an unbiased approach and looks at the three major categories students are most concerned with:
Affordability: CollegeAtlas takes into account the schools’ in-state tuition to determine affordability. Federal, state and institutional aid are excluded – since these factors vary from student to student, based on individual financial need. This provides a realistic look at what a typical student will pay for their education at each institution. The majority of students will pay under $10,000 for in-state tuition and under $15,000 for out-of state tuition at most A-List schools.
Accessibility: The A-List takes into account both the acceptance rate and enrollment size of each school. Many of the A-List schools accept over 80 percent of the students who apply, with some schools approaching 100 percent. Schools with larger student enrollments gained a small benefit from the calculation due to their ability to admit and educate large numbers of students.
Academic Quality: The factor with the highest weight in the A-List calculation is the quality of education offered at each university. To assess academic standing, the calculation considers an institution’s categorization and rank published in the annual U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. This takes into account a significant number of factors and is generally considered the gold standard for college rankings emphasizing academic quality and reputation.
Armed with this valuable information, students will be able to make an informed decision about their college selection. Higher education is about giving all students the opportunity to work hard toward their career of choice – not to exclude those who do not fit the ‘Ivy League’ mold, or to provide students a degree in exchange for decades of debt. For the first time, there is an unbiased ranking system for the masses that encompasses each of the three most important factors, and sets a new standard for all future college and university ranking systems. CollegeAtlas intends to release their A-List annually each fall.
CollegeAtlas.org, the encyclopedia of higher education, aims to provide unbiased information about universities, degrees and academic programs. CollegeAtlas includes rankings that help millions of students decide on the right college. For nearly a decade, CollegeAtlas has been helping aspiring students and education-minded professionals make better and more informed choices by providing relevant, reliable and up-to-date information about college and higher education opportunities. More information is available at CollegeAtlas.org.