Methodology: How We Get Our Numbers

The mission of Value Colleges is to provide prospective students with a practical, thorough guide to the most financially sound investments in higher education degrees. Our rankings, FAQs, and Cheap Lists are designed to inform students of the real costs and benefits of college education and direct them to the colleges and universities that will provide the most advantageous balance of price, marketability, and return on investment.

Our data comes from a few trusted sources:

National Rankings:

Most commonly, we consider the U.S. News & World Report rankings, as they are the most influential and generally considered the most reliable. Occasionally, as for specialized lists, other national rankings, such as Businessweek, the Princeton Review, and Forbes may be consulted.

The leading online source of data for starting salaries, ROI, and average salaries, has proven its commitment to accuracy and precision.

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The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System is the public database for the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), the federal agency charged with collecting, analyzing, and distributing information about colleges, universities, and technical schools in the US.

Primary research:

We assiduously fact-check and verify all of our rankings by scouring the public websites of the colleges and universities we consider. Because even the most trusted sources can have errors or out-of-date information, we take on the responsibility of ensuring that the information in our rankings is as accurate as possible.

We analyze data from these sources according to our own proprietary formulas to determine which institutions meet the Value Colleges mark – affordability, reputation, and return.


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