Washington Monthly Magazine is out this week with its annual College Guide and Rankings, with Georgia schools claiming slots on its best and worst lists.
The magazine – which covers politics, government, culture and the media – bases its ratings on three criteria: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research and how much students are giving back to their communities.
The magazine ranks national universities, liberal arts colleges, master’s universities, baccalaureate colleges and affordable elite institutions. It also provides a list of colleges that give students the “Best Bang for the Buck.”
Georgia Tech ranks 11th on the national universities list; Morehouse and Spelman colleges ranked 31st and 39th on the list of liberal arts institutions; Mercer ranked 13th among master’s universities; Covenant College in far northwest Georgia and Fort Valley University ranked 11th and 32nd, respectively, on the baccalaureate list; and the University of Georgia ranked 32nd among affordable elite colleges.
Among all schools, Georgia Tech and UGA also ranked No. 8 and No. 32, respectively, among colleges offering the best bang for the buck.
Georgia colleges also made the magazine’s various lists of 20 worst schools.
When taking into account net price, average student debt, default and graduate rates, Clark Atlanta University was rated the 14th-worst institution when those factors are equally weighted.
Officials at the historically black college countered the rating with its high rankings on other lists compiled by Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report.
“Therefore, that we would be placed on this list — one that, by its own admission ‘requires making judgments about the importance of different problems in higher education’ — is unfortunate,” a statement from the university read.
Clark Atlanta, like many other HBCUs, serves many students requiring financial aid and who are the first in their families to attend college, officials said.
“However, the fact that our graduates go on to lead corporations, universities, civic and government posts, and excel in diverse professional pursuits, affirms that, even in a challenging economic climate, the University continues to support and fulfill its mission,” the statement said. “That is hardly criteria for being ‘the worst’ in any ranking.”
When graduation rate was given more weight, for-profit institutions were rated poorly. The Art Institute of Atlanta was rated the third-worst college, and South University, another for-profit college based in Savannah, ranked as the 20th-worst institution. Atlanta’s Art Institute also ranked 13th on the worst colleges list when debt figures and borrowing rates were considered. Paine College in Augusta ranked eighth on that list.
Washington Monthly’s rankings are more aligned with a college rating system coming from the Obama administration, magazine editors said, and less like other lists, including the well-known U.S. News rankings, which are scheduled to be released next month.