URBANA — The University of Illinois has emerged as a top 100 school listed in "America's Top College's" according to a ranking system released this week from Forbes magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
The rankings were compiled for Forbes by the Washington-based center, and the methodology included factors such as alumni pay (from payscale.com) and prominence (such as alumni listed in Who's Who), student satisfaction, debt, four-year graduation rates and more.
Not including U.S. military service academies, only five public schools came out in the top 50. The University of Virginia, at 36, was the highest ranked among public universities. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was ranked 86, trailing Michigan, which was ranked at 57, but ahead of 144th-ranked Indiana University and 147th-ranked University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The top 10 are Princeton University, Williams College, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, Harvard University, the United States Military Academy in New York, Columbia University, Pomona College and Swarthmore College.
"We do internally look at a number of metrics," such as class size, faculty productivity and student debt, said Randy Kangas, associate vice president of planning and budgeting at the UI. "All the various rankings may have value to somebody out there. I'm not sure what to think of this one," he said.
The "America's Top Colleges" rankings are based on post-graduate success (32.5 percent), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction (27.5 percent), which includes professor evaluations and freshman-to-sophomore retention rates; debt (17.5 percent); four-year graduation rates (11.25 percent); and academic success (11.25 percent), which considers students earning competitive awards and fellowships or who go on to earn Ph.D.s.
According to the methodology, of the student satisfaction section, 17.5 percent is based on ratings from the website, ratemyprofessors.com, which has students rate the professor based on factors such as the professor's helpfulness and clarity. Students can also click on a chili pepper to vote if the professor is "hot" or not. The hotness scale was not included in the ranking.
The "America's Top College's" rankings, and a link to the methodology, can be found here: http://onforb.es/OEOK8i