Earlham is one of the top 100 colleges in the country in Forbes’ annual ranking of “America’s Best Colleges.” Of the approximately 4,000 colleges in the United States, Forbes ranked 650 colleges. Earlham is ranked No. 92 among all private and public colleges and universities, No. 15 among institutions in the Midwest and third among 18 schools ranked from Indiana.
According to Forbes, these rankings measure return on investment. Consequently, schools with impressive “outputs” rank well. “Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?”
Colleges are scored on measures of post-graduate success, student satisfaction, graduation rates, student debt levels and national recognition. The rankings are calculated for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity and are highlighted in the August 12, 2013 issue of Forbes magazine and online at www.forbes.com/top-colleges.
In recent years, Earlham College has redoubled its focus surrounding return on investment, in fact. A key emphasis of the college’s new strategic plan is strengthening the connection of a liberal arts education and career preparation. A newly created Earlham Center for Integrated Learning will provide students expanded opportunities for experiential, community-based learning including service, internships, community-based research, project-based learning, off-campus study and social entrepreneurship.
Post graduate success is the most important measure of the 6th annual Forbes ranking. Salary of alumni is pulled from Payscale.com, the market leader in global online compensation data, according to Forbes. “But because success isn’t just about money, we reward schools where the Establishment, Influencers and Innovators received their degrees.”
Earlham fares especially well in Payscale’s ranking of schools whose grads report that they hold meaningful jobs. In the "high job meaning” category, Earlham ranks in the top 30 of more than 1,000 institutions. (The College is tied at No. 23 with four other schools.) None of the top 200 schools in Forbes rankings scores as high as Earlham at 74 percent in this category.
In all, the rankings are based on five general categories: post graduate success (37.5%), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction (22.5%), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates; debt (17.5%), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate (11.25%); and competitive awards (11.25%), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Fulbright and National Science Foundation or go on to earn a Ph.D.