WASHINGTON — Forbes has come out with its ninth annual list of the nation’s top 25 colleges and universities, and finds a “small but significant” tilt to the West when it comes to elite higher education.
“Students all over the world are increasingly drawn to the nowness of the West Coast,” Forbes said in announcing the list.
Stanford University tops Forbes’ 2016 list, with Williams College in Massachusetts and Princeton University coming in behind. The top 10:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Forbes says the distinguishing characteristic of their rankings is return on investment. They note that in the past 40 years, tuition and fees have risen 270 percent at public colleges and universities and 204 percent at private schools.
“We look at factors that directly concern students (and their families): Are current undergrads satisfied? Is it likely I’ll graduate on time or incur a ton of student debt? Will I get a good job and be a leader in my chosen profession?”
Toward that end, they found that graduates of Harvey Mudd College in California had an average midcareer salary of $133,000 a year, followed by the California Institute of Technology at $125,000 and MIT at $124,000.
Also, Forbes found a tension between liberal arts colleges and STEM-based schools. This year, liberal arts schools take 11 of the top-25 slots, the same as last year and down from 13 in 2014, Forbes writes. They also found the best return on investment came from small private schools.
The highest-ranking area school was Georgetown, coming in at No. 21. The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis was No. 24.
Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.