2nd ANNUAL COLLEGE RANKINGS….The Washington Monthly’s Second Annual College Rankings are now out, and just like last year our goal was to go beyond figuring out which universities have the highest average SAT scores and the richest alumni:

Isn’t it just as important for taxpayers to know whether their money ? in the form of billions of dollars in research grants and student aid ? is being put to good use?

….And so, to put The Washington Monthly College Rankings together, we started with a different assumption about what constitutes the “best” schools. We asked ourselves: What are reasonable indicators of how much a school is benefiting the country? We came up with three: how well it performs as an engine of social mobility (ideally helping the poor to get rich rather than the very rich to get very, very rich), how well it does in fostering scientific and humanistic research, and how well it promotes an ethic of service to country.

You can see the complete package here. This year’s top-rated national university was MIT and the top-rated liberal arts college was Bryn Mawr.

But I wanted more. I wanted to add some value of my own. So I used the raw data from our report to create the “Striver Index,” those schools that made the biggest jump from their U.S. News & World Report ranking to their Washington Monthly ranking. The winner was UC Riverside, which jumped an amazing 63 spots, moving from #85 on the U.S. News chart to #22 on ours. Congrats! The rest of the top ten strivers are listed below.