Northwestern College is listed among the top 15 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities in the fourth annual America’s Top Colleges ranking by Forbes.com.
Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) analyzed 650 institutions, chosen from among the nation's 2,500 four-year colleges and universities, and ranked them based on “the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt,” according to Michael Noer, who authored the article about the study on Forbes’ website.
Forbes and CCAP’s methodology based 30 percent of the rankings on post-graduate success, determined by the salaries of graduates reported by Payscale.com and percentage of alumni listed in Who’s Who in America and on Forbes/CCAP Corporate Officers List. Another 28 percent is based on student satisfaction as indicated by freshman-to-sophomore retention rates and recorded on RateMyProfessors.com.
Eighteen percent is based on the average student loan debt load and loan default rates, and another 18 percent is based on four-year college graduation rates. The last component is based on the number of students, adjusted for enrollment, who have won prestigious scholarships and fellowships.
Forbes.com selected only 14 Iowa colleges and universities for their America’s Best Colleges list. Iowa colleges’ rankings range from 68th (Grinnell College) to 517th (University of Northern Iowa); Northwestern was ranked 352nd. Others on the list were Central, Clarke, Coe, Cornell, Dordt, Drake, Iowa State, Luther, Simpson, the University of Iowa and Wartburg.