Northwestern College is again ranked among the nation’s best colleges and universities by Forbes.com. Northwestern is ranked as the seventh-best Iowa college and 332nd overall in the 2014 “America’s Top Colleges” ranking by Forbes.
Forbes, in partnership with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, included only 650 institutions in its rankings. According to the rankings website, selections were based on educational output. “We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like,” writes Caroline Howard on Forbes’ website. “Our sights are set directly on ROI (return on investment): What are students getting out of college?”
The rankings are based on five general categories: post-graduate success, which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction, which includes professor evaluations and freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rates; student debt, which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate; and academic success, which rewards schools whose students go on to earn doctoral degrees or win prestigious scholarships and fellowships.
“The Forbes ranking is one of the most important for prospective students to consider,” says Kenton Pauls, Northwestern’s dean of enrollment management. “It emphasizes what students should care about most: the return on their investment and ultimately success after graduation. Forbes has once again quantified what we know to be true, that our students are highly satisfied and grow academically during their time with us and go on to get great jobs and attend outstanding graduate schools when they leave after four years. To be a ‘top college’ for these reasons is exactly what we strive for.”
Forbes.com selected only 13 Iowa colleges and universities for the America’s Best Colleges list. They include Grinnell College, 58; Drake, 143; University of Iowa, 192; Luther, 237; Iowa State, 261; Cornell College, 298; Northwestern College, 332; Coe, 339; Central, 372; Simpson, 404; Dordt, 408; Clarke, 432; and University of Northern Iowa, 484.