The Editors

Introduction: Where Is Opportunity in America?

Once upon a time, proponents of the idea of “American exceptionalism” used to point to Europe’s high youth unemployment rates as an object lesson. See what happens, they’d lecture, when countries have inflexible labor markets and cradle-to-grave social benefits? But an inconvenient truth has emerged. The youth unemployment rate in the United States is now… Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »