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THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY COLLEGE RANKINGS …. In what college ranking does UCLA come out ahead of Harvard? Texas A&M over Yale?

No, football has nothing to do with it. The difference between other rankings and the Washington Monthly College Rankings is that ours are dedicated not to which universities are best for you, but which universities are best for the country.

All of the existing college rankings have the same aim ? to help overwhelmed parents and students sift through the thousands of colleges and universities in this country by giving them some yardstick for judging the ?best? schools….Parents who will shell out tens of thousands of dollars to put their teenagers through college need to know they are spending their money wisely.

How much more important, then, is it for taxpayers to know that their money ? in the form of billions of dollars of research grants and student aid ? is being put to good use? These are institutions, after all, that produce most of the country’s cutting-edge scientific research and are therefore indirectly responsible for much of our national wealth and prosperity. They are the path to the American dream, the surest route for hard-working poor kids to achieve a better life in a changing economy. And they shape, in profound and subtle ways, students’ ideas about American society and their place in it. It seemed obvious to us that these heavily subsidized institutions ought to be graded on how well they perform in these roles, so we set out to create the first annual Washington Monthly College Rankings.

So how did your alma mater do? Click the link to to see how we came up with our rankings, plus previews of the top 30 national universities and the top 30 liberal arts colleges. The full list of 445 rankings is in the print magazine, coming soon to a newsstand near you!

UPDATE: Jay Mathews of the Washington Post comments here.