A student’s investment in higher education can be one of the most important decisions for individuals and families. With so many factors to consider when looking for a college the task can be daunting. A recent report by Brookings Institution measured colleges by economic payout, which has received much praise within higher education circles.
The rankings in the report measure factors that best predict economic outcomes of students based on data for over 7,000 higher education institutions.
The calculations for these rankings are determined by the value that a college has added to the economic success of the college’s alumni. Economic success is determined by alumni earnings, occupational earnings power, and loan repayment rates.
Data for the rankings have been drawn for 4,897 community colleges from government and private sources. For a more in-depth look at ranking factors, click here.
Calculating the Value Added by a College
Image source: Brookings.edu
For each college the value added is determined by the difference between actual economic outcomes and predicted outcomes for the average alumni.
The Earnings, Occupational Earnings Power, and Loan Repayment scores shown below represent a percentage of how much better an institution performed than similar institutions, according to Brooking’s estimation.
EDsmart has taken Brooking’s report one step further to rank the top community colleges according to their percentage of value-added.
Top 10 Community Colleges with Better than Projected Alumni Outcomes
NHTI - Concord's Community College
Occupational Earnings Power: 99
Loan Repayment: 99
Occupational Earnings Power: 77
Loan Repayment: 28
Pearl River Community College
Occupational Earnings Power: 52
Loan Repayment: 58
Pueblo Community College
Occupational Earnings Power: 28
Loan Repayment: 27
Occupational Earnings Power: 54
Loan Repayment: 40
Occupational Earnings Power: 82
Loan Repayment: 5
Occupational Earnings Power: 96
Loan Repayment: 7
San Diego City College
San Diego, CA
Occupational Earnings Power: 92
Loan Repayment: 11
Northcentral Technical College
Occupational Earnings Power: 89
Loan Repayment: 94
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Fergus Falls, MN
Occupational Earnings Power: 74
Loan Repayment: 81
- Alumni mid-career salary
- Occupational earnings power
- Federal student loan default rates
- Curriculum value
- Share of graduates prepared to work in STEM fields
- Value of Alumni Skills
- Graduation rate, twice normal length
- Retention or re-enrollment rate
- Institutional aid per student, average
- Average salary of instructional staff
- Percent of freshman from same state
- Foreign-born student share of enrollment
- Asian student share of enrollment
- White student share of enrollment
- Average age of students
- Percent attending part time
- Female share of students
- Percent of students receiving no aid
- Percent of students receiving federal loans
- Pell grant aid per student
- Standardized math scores
- ACT and SAT scores on the quantitative sections, standardized to have mean zero and a standard deviation of one, and weighted by number of students taking each exam. For schools with no scores, expected scores were imputed based on student characteristics.
- LinkedIn salary bias
- Modal degree is one year
- Modal degree is bachelor’s
- Modal degree is post-bachelor’s
- Online college (all students enrolled only in distance learning)
- Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education
- Percentage distribution of degrees granted by level
College geographic characteristics that determine predicted outcomes
- Local price index 2012
- The cost of living relative to other metropolitan areas.
- State location
Sources: PayScale, LinkedIn and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics (May 2013), U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey; the data were obtained from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)., O*NET, U.S. Department of Education’s IPEDS database, Analysis of data from LinkedIn for alumni skills by college and from Burning Glass for value of skills (for more information, see: “Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills”), Bureau of Economic Analysis
All compiled data can be found at Brookings.edu