The Editors


A Note on Methodology: 4-year Colleges and Universities

To establish the set of colleges included in the rankings, we started with the 1,732 colleges in the fifty states that are listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and have a 2018 Carnegie basic classification of research, master’s, baccalaureate, and baccalaureate/associate’s colleges, are not exclusively graduate colleges, participate… Read more »

A Note on Methodology: Affordable Elites

Our “affordable elite” ranking consists of the 208 four-year universities included in our main rankings (see page 105 for general inclusion criteria) that were in the highest selectivity categories in Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. This includes the very competitive+, highly competitive, highly competitive+, and most competitive categories. We used the following six measures of… Read more »

A Note on Methodology: Best Colleges for Adult Learners

We began with the 3,295 postsecondary institutions in the fifty states and Washington, D.C., that were listed in the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) as being active in the 2017–18 academic year and had a Carnegie basic classification in 2018 of between 1 and 23, excluding many colleges that only grant… Read more »