The University of Michigan has earned the No. 1 ranking in Money magazine’s 2022 list of “Best Colleges in America,” ranked by value.
U-M is only the second public university to place first in the history of the magazine’s rankings.
“The university takes great pride in offering our students a world-class education while maintaining our commitment to affordability,” said Amy Dittmar, senior vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs. “This ranking is validation that we’re moving in the right direction even if we know there is still more work to be done.”
In its listing released May 16, Money ranked more than 600 colleges and universities after looking at more than 2,400 institutions, considering 24 factors within three broad categories:
- Quality of education (30% of the ranking) — The six-year graduation rate and value-added graduation rate accounted for most of this measure, which also included factors such as peer quality, student-to-faculty ratio, university financial troubles and graduation rate of Pell Grant recipients.
- Affordability (40%) — This measured short-term (the net price of a degree) and long-term (student loan default and repayment rates) affordability.
- Outcomes (30%) — This considered median earnings 10 years after college entry, the share of alumni working and the share of alumni earning more than a high school graduate within six years of starting college, as well as economic mobility and return on investment.
Money’s analysis also includes “value-added” calculations, which compare a school’s performance against its predicted performance, after accounting for the standardized test scores and percentage of low-income students among its enrollees.
Data collection and analysis for the rankings were led by Money’s rankings partner, Witlytic.
According to Money officials, U-M pulled off “a hat trick in this year’s rankings, scoring high across each of the three categories we look at. But it performs especially well on the affordability measures.”
They also noted the university “snagged the top spot thanks in part to its high graduation rate and strong financial aid for in-state students.”
“We want our students to leave our campus set up for success, academically and financially,” said Dittmar. “We work to support them through a number of mentoring programs, academic support resources, and dedicated staff. It is of utmost importance to us that each member of our community has the full opportunity to thrive in our challenging environment.”’
U-M is the only public university in the state that covers 100% of the demonstrated financial need of students from Michigan.
The university offers a financial aid program for in-state students on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses that features a “Go Blue Guarantee” of free tuition for up to four years for most high-achieving students with a family income of up to $65,000.
Dittmar said U-M’s mission of serving the people of Michigan includes ensuring that higher education is available to all.
U-M officials also noted the sticker price for U-M in-state students has grown more slowly over the last decade than the comparable average among the Association of American Universities public universities.
In addition, the university provides the second-highest average institutional grant and scholarship aid of all AAU public universities, even though U-M receives the lowest state grant aid.
This is the first time the rankings have separated colleges into two lists: one that included all the colleges and a separate list for nearly 50 of the country’s most selective colleges.
Money ranked U-M No. 4 overall in 2020 and No. 8 in 2019.