Since 2005, the Washington Monthly has released an annual College Guide and rankings, where we rate schools based on what they are doing for the country. It’s our answer to U.S News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige to evaluate schools.

We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). We also offer our “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings – our exclusive list of schools that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. This year, we are also debuting the nation’s first-ever ranking of the best colleges for adult learners. More rankings information, including methodologies, can be found here.

[college-guide year=”2016″]

Click the cover to read our 2016 College Guide issue online. You can also read last year’s issue. And be sure to check out our book, The Other College Guide.


We are deeply grateful to the Lumina FoundationThe Kresge Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their support.