N.J. schools fare poorly on Forbes rankings of colleges, universities

Princeton is only school in Top 150 — and it’s not No. 1

To be clear, there are a number of publications and services that rank the top colleges and universities in the country.

The rankings from U.S. News & World Report, considered the gold standard, will be released next Monday.

Forbes, which began its rankings 13 years ago, released its latest list Wednesday — and did so with a new methodology, one that it feels “better accounts for which schools are serving as true engines of the American Dream.”

Because of it, a public school was ranked No. 1 for the first time, with the University of California-Berkeley topping Yale University and Princeton University for the top honor. (See Top 10 below.)

New Jersey schools did not fare well — as no institution other than Princeton ranked in the Top 150. Rutgers University-New Brunswick was fifth in the state at No. 212. (See the full New Jersey list at bottom.)

Christian Kreznar, an assistant editor at Forbes who led Top Colleges this year, explained.

“The times demand a ranking that accounts for inclusivity, not exclusivity, and rewarding colleges and universities that are engines of the American Dream for the many and not a privileged few,” he said in a release.

“After taking a pandemic pause last year, we decided to revamp our Top Colleges ranking to better reflect the changing nature of U.S. higher education. A college degree is still one of the most significant investments people will make in their lives, and our new methodology captures those stakes.”

This year, Forbes ranked colleges and universities in the U.S. based on the return on investment and outcomes they delivered for their students. Schools placed well if their students graduated on time, secured high salaries and low debt, and went on to have successful careers. Several new measures and datasets were added this year to ensure that the findings were even more robust. The data was reframed to better gauge alumni salaries, added a new metric to determine how quickly graduates paid off the cost of college and accounted for how well schools were serving low-income students.

Here’s a look at how schools were scored:

  • Alumni salary: 20%
  • Debt: 15%
  • ROI: 15%
  • Graduation rate: 15%
  • Forbes American Leaders List: 15%
  • Retention rate: 10%
  • Academic success: 10%

The Forbes Top 10

No. 1: Cal-Berkeley
No. 2: Yale
No. 3: Princeton
No. 4: Stanford University
No. 5: Columbia University
No. 6: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
No. 7: Harvard University
No. 8: UCLA
No. 9: University of Pennsylvania
No. 10: Northwestern University

See the complete list here.

The ranked New Jersey schools

No. 3: Princeton
No. 158: Stevens Institute of Technology
No. 174: The College of New Jersey
No. 189: New Jersey Institute of Technology
No. 212: Rutgers-New Brunswick
No. 215: Seton Hall University
No. 223: Ramapo College of New Jersey
No. 277: Montclair State University
No. 293: Drew University
No. 352: Rowan University
No. 374: Fairleigh Dickinson University
No. 394: Monmouth University
No. 452: Stockton University
No. 531: Saint Peter’s University
No. 538: New Jersey City University