September/October 2013

A Note on Methodology: 4-Year Colleges and Universities

There are two primary goals to our methodology. First, we considered no single category to be more important than any other. Second, the final rankings needed to reflect excellence across the full breadth of our measures, rather than reward an exceptionally high focus on, say, research. Thus, all three main categories were weighted equally when… Read more »

Merit Aid Madness

How Ohio colleges started a tuition discount war for wealthy students that has now spread across the country.

A Note on Methodology: Community Colleges

The Washington Monthly ranking of America’s best community colleges is based on two sources of information: the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion. The CCSSE survey is managed by a nonprofit organization of the same name housed at the University of Texas at… Read more »

America’s Best Community Colleges 2013

To see the 2013 Community Colleges Rankings, click here. On July 13, 1946, Harry Truman did something that no president had done before: he created a commission to chart the future of American higher education. Historically, college and university matters had largely been left up to the states. Even the famous Morrill Land-Grant Acts had… Read more »

Introduction: A Different Kind of College Ranking

To see our full list of rankings, click here. Eight years ago, the Washington Monthly published its first annual college rankings. Back in 2005, America was still operating under a compact with its citizens, colleges, and universities that had stood for the better part of the previous hundred years. The taxpayers would invest in basic… Read more »

Tilting at Windmills

The Gilded City For many years, Washington was a city of modest lifestyles, largely determined by the civil service salary scale. That began to change in the 1970s with the growth of lobbying into a major local industry and the considerably higher compensation enjoyed by its practitioners. Then came the great increase in defense spending… Read more »

All Things Being Unequal

Since the 1980s, I’ve been following, and occasionally contributing to, the national debate about whether America is becoming a more unequal society. For most of those years, the position of my friends on the right has been that the validity of studies showing growing inequality is highly questionable. As mounting evidence has made that position… Read more »