Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 21

They aren't the most exclusive, and they don't have football teams playing on New Year's Day. Yet in relative anonymity, they are achieving the goal politicians and pundits say is vital: affordable, high-quality college education. Then there are the colleges doing exactly the opposite. Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz earns more than $1 million per year. The university has a comfortable role in the greater New York City metropolitan area, enrolling students with an average SAT score near 1,200. Its published tuition of $40,460 is lower than some other private schools. U.S. News puts Hofstra in the middle of the pack, at 135th, a solid safety school for aspirants to NYU. But our rankings suggest that's pretty much all there is to Hofstra. It is home to few faculty who have been inducted into the National Academies or been similarly recognized at the top of their field. It conducts very little scientific research, and its graduates are relatively unlikely to go on to earn PhDs. Its graduation rate is below par, and it enrolls relatively few low-income and first-generation students-perhaps because it charges students from households earning less than $75,000 per year a whopping net price of $28,865, one of the very highest rates nationwide. Employment results are par for the course, loan repayment rates somewhat worse. Hofstra is doing okay for itself. It is doing little for anyone else. We rank it 297th out of 303 national universities. The University of Miami's football program has gone through several cycles of scandal and glory over the decades. What's constant is the university's high tuition prices and an anemic commitment to economic opportunity. Fewer than one in five Miami students are from low-income families, with similar proportions among first-generation students, and those who do attend are charged nearly $25,000 in tuition per year. Yet after college, Miami students make almost $9,000 less per year than their demographics and student majors predict, among the ten worst disparities nationwide. Catholic University's spiritual commitment to aiding the poor seems to stop at the admissions office door. Only 13 percent of its students are eligible for Pell Grants, and 16 percent are first-generation college-goers, one of the worst numbers nationwide. Some national universities have fallen in our rankings from previous years, yet still stand out for their successes. The University of Texas at El Paso remains in our top third, because, as in years past, it enrolls many low-income students and charges affordable prices while making considerable investments in service and research. UTEP's Achilles' heel is the new loan repayment rate measure, which shows that nearly a quarter of students who borrow money to go there fail to pay down even $1 in principal on their loans five years after leaving school. UTEP administrators may need to invest in counseling and outreach to bring their ranking back up. Changes to the federal Pell Grant program that give nontraditional students aid to pay for summer semesters could help increase graduation rates at UTEP (and elsewhere), reducing debt and improving repayment rates. TOP 30 LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES RANK IN U.S. NEWS (2016) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. BEREA COLLEGE (KY) Harvey Mudd College (CA) Amherst College (MA) Williams College (MA) Haverford College (PA) Bryn Mawr College (PA) Washington and Lee University (VA) Pomona College (CA) Colgate University (NY) Swarthmore College (PA) Wesleyan University (CT) Davidson College (NC) Knox College (IL) Carleton College (MN) Bowdoin College (ME) Middlebury College (VT) Wellesley College (MA) Ripon College (WI) Grinnell College (IA) New College of Florida (FL)* Colby College (ME) Agnes Scott College (GA) Bates College (ME) McDaniel College (MD) University of Richmond (VA) College of the Holy Cross (MA) Bucknell University (PA) Salem College (NC) Hamilton College (NY) Allegheny College (PA) 67 14 2 1 12 25 14 4 19 3 14 9 72 8 4 4 4 116 19 82 19 67 25 134 32 32 32 136 14 72 *Public institution And then there's our bottom-ranked national university, Texas Southern, which last made national news nearly a decade ago when its former president pleaded no contest to criminal charges of misappropriating university funds. As journalists noted at the time, Texas Southern was arguably "created to fail" as a means of preventing desegregation. Unfortunately for its students, it continues to live this legacy, with a 15 percent graduation rate-far worse than other universities with similar student populations-relatively high prices, and a staggering 56 percent of borrowers failing to pay down the principal Washington Monthly 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2016

Contents
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