August 14, 2019
MONEY magazine has released its 2019 list of Best Colleges for Your Money, ranking West Chester University at #179 out of 744 universities eligible for inclusion. WCU is the ninth highest-ranked Pennsylvania institution in the top 200 best values nationwide.
Drawing data from the U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, PayScale.com, and MONEY/College Measures calculations, the researchers ranked colleges and universities on 26 factors in three categories: quality of education, affordability, and outcomes. “Because these three factors are so interrelated and crucial to families, we gave them equal weights in our ranking,” note the editors.
Among the more than 19,000 data points that MONEY weighed are unique measures that they say contribute to a college’s “value added” including a deeper dive into graduation rates based on the economic and academic profile of the student body; student loan repayment and default rates; and post-graduation earnings, after adjusting for the types of students each school admits.
“We believe this analysis gives students and parents a much better indication of which colleges will provide real value for their tuition dollars,” the editors state.
In the explanation for their methodology, MONEY explains how they arrived at net prices: “MONEY’s estimated net price is likely to be higher than the average price actually paid by most families. It is crucial to understand that while the MONEY net price estimate is based on the average price charged by the college, you and your family will pay less than that if your student receives any federal, state, or private scholarships. … In addition, our net price is based on the average student’s time-to-degree. Your student may finish in four years. And while many students take more than four years to finish a degree, they aren’t necessarily paying full tuition for the five or six years before they graduate.”
Complete methodology details are available here. The MONEY editorial staff is solely responsible for the final ranking decisions.