Updated 12/18/13: This post has been updated to remove Rice University, which has notified U.S. News that it incorrectly reported its graduation rate of students who received a subsidized Stafford loan.
The tables below are based on data that only U.S. News has collected and published, and are the type of outcome data that those developing the methodology and data sets to be used in the president's proposed college rating plan should consider.
The president's plan would, in part, measure the success of students who receive federal aid like subsidized loans. According to a White House release, "These ratings will compare colleges with similar missions and identify colleges that do the most to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as colleges that are improving their performance" using factors such as graduation rates and loan debt.
Under the 2009 Higher Education Opportunity Act, schools must disclose the graduation rates of students who received a Pell Grant, students who received a subsidized Stafford loan but not a Pell Grant and students who received neither.
U.S. News has collected these three separate graduation rate data, which can reveal a college's success in serving students from different economic backgrounds, since 2012 as part of its spring survey of colleges and universities.
It is unlikely that those developing the federal college rating plan will be able to measure graduation rates of students receiving subsidized Stafford loans separately, because the U.S. Department of Education is not currently collecting this information. The methodology and benchmarks the federal college ratings will use to determine the colleges where students from disadvantaged backgrounds are performing above or below their peers have not been released.
One indicator of economic diversity is the proportion of students receiving subsidized Stafford loans, as students have to qualify for financial aid to receive these loans. Undergraduates can borrow up to $23,000 in subsidized Stafford loans, which come directly from the federal government.
In the analysis below, we have used this data for the fall 2006 entering class, collected in spring 2013 as part of our regular data collection for the 2014 Best Colleges rankings – though the data were not incorporated into the 2014 Best Colleges rankings methodology.
The data show which schools in the U.S. News National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings categories are top performers, overperformers and underperformers when comparing the six-year graduation rate of students who started in 2006 and received a subsidized Stafford loan, but no Pell Grant, with the six-year rate of their entire 2006 entering class.
For this list, top-performing schools are defined as those with overall six-year graduation rates of 85 percent or higher and where students who receive a subsidized Stafford loan, but no Pell Grant, graduate at the same rate as the overall student body, plus or minus 1 percentage point. Students at these schools, in other words, are graduating at the same high rate regardless of their income level.
Data on both the entire fall 2006 student body graduation rate and the graduation rate of students with subsidized Stafford loans for the fall 2006 entering class were submitted to U.S. News by 311 of the 510 ranked schools in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges categories.
Unranked schools, which do not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
The table below shows the schools in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking categories where students with subsidized Stafford loans are graduating at close to the same, high graduation rates as the overall student body.
|School name (state)||U.S. News rank and category||6-year overall graduation rate||6-year Stafford loan graduation rate||Difference|
|Bates College (ME)||22, National Liberal Arts Colleges||88||89||1|
|Brown University (RI)||14, National Universities||95||95||0|
|Bucknell University (PA)||32, National Liberal Arts Colleges||90||91||1|
|Carleton College (MN)||7, National Liberal Arts Colleges||94||93||-1|
|Carnegie Mellon University (PA)||23, National Universities||87||88||1|
|College of the Holy Cross (MA)||25, National Liberal Arts Colleges||93||92||-1|
|College of William and Mary (VA)||32, National Universities||90||90||0|
|Colorado College||31, National Liberal Arts Colleges||90||90||0|
|Grinnell College (IA)||17, National Liberal Arts Colleges||90||91||1|
|Hamilton College (NY)||14, National Liberal Arts Colleges||91||92||1|
|Harvey Mudd College (CA)||16, National Liberal Arts Colleges||88||89||1|
|Johns Hopkins University (MD)||12, National Universities||94||93||-1|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||7, National Universities||93||93||0|
|Middlebury College (VT)||4, National Liberal Arts Colleges||94||95||1|
|New York University||32, National Universities||85||85||0|
|Northwestern University (IL)||12, National Universities||93||94||1|
|Oberlin College (OH)||25, National Liberal Arts Colleges||85||85||0|
|Pennsylvania State University—University Park||37, National Universities||86||85||-1|
|Swarthmore College (PA)||3, National Liberal Arts Colleges||92||92||0|
|University of California—Irvine||49, National Universities||86||85.7||-0.3|
|University of California—Los Angeles||23, National Universities||92||91||-1|
|University of California—Santa Barbara||41, National Universities||86||85||-1|
|University of Notre Dame (IN)||18, National Universities||95||95||0|
|University of Pennsylvania||7, National Universities||96||97||1|
|University of Southern California||23, National Universities||90||91||1|
|Vassar College (NY)||13, National Liberal Arts Colleges||91||90||-1|
|Washington University in St. Louis||14, National Universities||94||95||1|
|Wheaton College (IL)||57, National Liberal Arts Colleges||90||90||0|
|Whitman College (WA)||41, National Liberal Arts Colleges||87||86||-1|
The table below shows the schools in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking categories where students with subsidized Stafford loans graduate at higher rates than the overall student body.
|School name (state)||U.S. News rank and category||6-year overall graduation rate||6-year Stafford loan graduation rate||Overperformance|
|Bloomfield College (NJ)||RNP*, National Liberal Arts Colleges||37||50||13|
|University of Alaska—Fairbanks||RNP, National Universities||33||46||13|
|Tougaloo College (MS)||RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges||52||62||10|
|Ave Maria University (FL)||RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges||60||69||9|
|Pitzer College (CA)||35, National Liberal Arts Colleges||87||96||9|
|University of the Pacific (CA)||112, National Universities||63||72||9|
|Our Lady of the Lake University (TX)||RNP, National Universities||27||35||8|
|Colgate University (NY)||20, National Liberal Arts Colleges||90||97||7|
|Georgia State University||RNP, National Universities||51||58||7|
|Goucher College (MD)||110, National Liberal Arts Colleges||66||73||7|
|Texas Southern University||RNP, National Universities||12||19||7|
|University of Massachusetts—Lowell||158, National Universities||54||61||7|
|New College of Florida||89, National Liberal Arts Colleges||69||75||6|
|Ripon College (WI)||120, National Liberal Arts Colleges||72||78||6|
|Virginia Military Institute||65, National Liberal Arts Colleges||71||77||6|
|Claremont McKenna College (CA)||9, National Liberal Arts Colleges||92||97||5|
|Moravian College (PA)||138, National Liberal Arts Colleges||74||79||5|
|New Jersey Institute of Technology||150, National Universities||54||59||5|
|North Carolina A&T State University||RNP, National Universities||42||47||5|
|Northeastern University (MA)||49, National Universities||79||84||5|
|Smith College (MA)||20, National Liberal Arts Colleges||85||90||5|
|College of Wooster (OH)||65, National Liberal Arts Colleges||76||80.6||4.6|
This table lists the schools in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking categories where students with subsidized Stafford loans graduate at lower rates than the overall student body.
|School name (state)||U.S. News rank and category||6-year overall graduation rate||6-year Stafford loan graduation rate||Underperformance|
|Westminster College (MO)||146, National Liberal Arts Colleges||70||55||-15|
|Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge||135, National Universities||67||53||-14|
|Wichita State University (KS)||RNP, National Universities||41||27||-14|
|Arizona State University||142, National Universities||57||44||-13|
|Oglethorpe University (GA)||165, National Liberal Arts Colleges||55||42||-13|
|Texas A&M University--Commerce||RNP, National Universities||36||23||-13|
|Polytechnic Institute of New York University||128, National Universities||62||50||-12|
|University of Tennessee||101, National Universities||66||54||-12|
|University of Wyoming||161, National Universities||54||42||-12|
|College of Idaho||167, National Liberal Arts Colleges||64||53||-11|
|Hollins University (VA)||110, National Liberal Arts Colleges||56||45||-11|
|Louisiana Tech University||190, National Universities||47||36||-11|
|Maryville College (TN)||176, National Liberal Arts Colleges||53||42||-11|
|University of Alabama—Birmingham||152, National Universities||48||37||-11|
|University of Mississippi||150, National Universities||58||47||-11|
|Florida Atlantic University||RNP, National Universities||41||31||-10|
|Southern Methodist University (TX)||60, National Universities||79||69||-10|
|University of Louisville (KY)||161, National Universities||52||42||-10|
|University of Utah||121, National Universities||59||49||-10|
|Franklin and Marshall College (PA)||45, National Liberal Arts Colleges||83||74||-9|
|University of Arizona||119, National Universities||61||52||-9|
|University of South Dakota||190, National Universities||51||42||-9|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
The graduation rate data above are correct as of Nov. 21, 2013.