Georgetown University ranks as one of the best colleges for social mobility and contribution to the public good in Washington Monthly’s latest College Guide and Rankings. In addition to being No. 15 on the magazine’s 2022 National Universities Ranking, Georgetown earns second place on its 2022 Best Bang for the Buck Colleges list for Southeastern schools.
The Best Bang for the Buck list ranks schools by region and according to their affordability and academic outcomes for students from middle- and low-income backgrounds, Washington Monthly explains. According to the magazine, the top three Best Bang for the Buck colleges in the Southeast—Washington and Lee University, Georgetown, and Duke University—“represent outstanding value for the students from lower-income families whom they accept.”
Since 2005, the magazine has rated four-year colleges and universities according to three equally weighted categories: social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service. This year’s college guide evaluated 1,507 public, private nonprofit, and for-profit schools, and colleges attained top rankings only if they excel in all three areas. For the Best Bang for the Buck list, Washington Monthly isolates colleges’ social mobility score, or how well colleges help non-wealthy students earn marketable degrees at affordable prices.
A different way to rank U.S. colleges and universities
Washington Monthly’s College Guide is in part a response to criticism of lists that rank colleges based on test scores, wealth, and exclusivity. Last month, Department of Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona called out higher education’s preoccupation with landing on these lists when speaking at a summit on college completion. “Let’s raise the profiles of institutions delivering real upward mobility,” he urged in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Washington Monthly describes its rankings as an answer to lists such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide, which has depended on standardized-test scores as a key component of its ratings. The Washington Monthly College Guide relies on publicly available data for four-year colleges, incorporating factors such as the number of Pell Grant recipients enrolled and their graduation rates, the graduation rate over eight years for all students, net price, and students’ median earnings 10 years after entering college. Along with publishing its National Universities Ranking and Best Bang for the Buck Colleges lists, Washington Monthly also ranks the Best Colleges for Student Voting and Best Colleges for Vocational Certificates lists.