August 03, 2012 by Alissa Falcone
A Forbes article released Aug. 1 compiling a list of America’s top colleges placed Drexel University at No. 525 out of 650.
The results were ranked by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which is an organization operating out of Washington, D.C., that specializes in research centered on higher education. For the Forbes ranking, the Center took into consideration things such as “quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low levels of debt,” according to the article.
“[The researchers at the Center] do not attempt to assess a school’s reputation, nor are they a measure of academic selectivity, and we pointedly ignore any metrics that would encourage schools to engage in wasteful spending,” Michael Noer, the Forbes staff writer who wrote the article, said.
Drexel fell behind other top Pennsylvania colleges and universities like the University of Pennsylvania (No. 17), Villanova University (No. 83), St. Joseph’s University (No. 180) and Temple University (No. 480). The highest-ranking college in the state was Swarthmore College, which came in at No. 10. Out of the 43 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that were listed, Drexel was ranked 38th.
Lori Doyle, senior vice president for the Office of University Communications, responded to Drexel’s relatively low ranking by posting a comment in the comment thread of the article page.
“Drexel University is a co-op school, and most of its students take five years to get an undergraduate degree instead of four since they do three full-time co-ops during the five years. The four-year graduation rate used in this ranking doesn’t take that into account,” she wrote.
Doyle added, “This inconsistency in how the rankings are calculated is misleading for students and their parents who are considering a co-op school like Drexel.”
According to the article, there was a system of methodology to calculate the rankings of each school. There were five basic categories that each held a certain percentage that added to a school’s final score.
As the article stated, the categories included postgraduate success (32.5 percent) like the pay and prominence of alumni; student satisfaction (27.5 percent) comprised of evaluations from professors as well as retention rates for the sophomore year; how much debt a student could accumulate (17.5 percent), penalizing schools with histories of high student debt and default rates after graduation; four-year graduation rate (11.25 percent); and competitive awards such as the Rhodes, Marshall or Fulbright scholarships or students who go on to earn a doctorate (11.25 percent).
Forbes had previously ranked Drexel No. 361 in private colleges and No. 200 in research universities.
The article, called “America’s Top Colleges,” provides more information and rankings on Forbes’ top American universities can be found at forbes.com.