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Colgate ranks #2 in the nation in new survey of college outcomes and value

By Barbara Brooks on April 29, 2015
Colgate alumni give students an important leg up in the business world.

Colgate alumni give students an important leg up in the business world.

Behind only California Institute of Technology and ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and many others, Colgate today was ranked second-highest among four-year schools for “value-added” with respect to mid-career earnings.

A new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, titled Beyond College Rankings, a Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools, is the first to study a broad array of colleges on economic outcomes for graduates, using a blend of government and private data sources, including Linkedin and PayScale.

It also factors in seven quality metrics: Curriculum value, percent graduating in a STEM field, alumni skills, graduation rate, retention rate, aid per student, and instructional staff.

Read here for a summary of the report and the list of  the “10 universities that will increase your career earnings the most.”

According to Inside Higher Education, “Brookings characterizes the unobservable reasons why an institution might provide a large value-added boost to its graduates as ‘x factors,’ and attributes 59 percent of Colgate’s value added to such unobserved factors.”

Jonathan Rothwell, lead author and a fellow at Brookings, said, “It’s not the majors that are driving their student success, and it’s not the skills they list on résumés. It may be they have access to great teachers; it may be that their alumni networks are strong.”

According to Brookings, the survey improves on conventional rankings in several ways. The survey includes a much larger number of schools; it focuses on factors that best predict measurable economic outcomes; and it attempts to isolate the effect colleges themselves have on those outcomes, above and beyond what students’ backgrounds would predict.

“This report is serious and comprehensive,” said President Jeffrey Herbst. “The focus on outcomes makes it superior to other rankings. It measures salaries, which is important but not, of course, the whole story. The report articulates the power of our Colgate University professional networks .”

The timing of the new survey from Brookings is attracting widespread media attention, as it comes as many families are in the final throes of weighing college admission and aid offers.

So far, Colgate has been mentioned by Inside Higher EducationNational JournalCNN Money, cbs.com, National Journal, Fusion, and Huffington Post.


  • leslie lipton said:

    Which colgate alum is at food network? Im in culinary school

  • Jim Surkamp '71 said:

    upon reading the report summary, it very quickly rekindled my long-held appreciation for all those required philosophy and religion and other core courses (kant’s critique of pure reason) and the rigor of those courses. after colgate in my first working situations i felt the power of my education vis a vis others, like knowing some sort of karate, that my peers lacked. add to that the great dedication to good teaching at colgate, unlike having the infamous lectures at “top” schools where grad students do the student related work, while the name profs publish. these i think are the value add along with alumni networks.

  • Oona Houlihan said:

    “… ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale …” Actually, as a European we would only know these “household” names and Colgate so far would have been a toothpaste … Interesting to see these comparisons and how they are potentially caused although I wonder if such sentence “… isolate the effect colleges themselves have on those outcomes, above and beyond what students’ backgrounds would predict …” makes sense. After all, if it is the alumni network and if college choice often runs in families for generations, then the too items to me seem hardly separable from a variable-independence-testing standpoint in statistics.

  • John B. Will said:

    Colgate’s number two ranking in mid-career income is a reassuring demonstration of the value of the education the school provides. Colgate’s high quality liberal arts instruction while turning out graduates whose societal contributions are so notably compensated is indeed cause for celebration.

  • Donald Lindeman '74 said:

    This is great and wonderful news for Colgate, and it does not surprise me that Colgate rates so high for both liberal arts and alumni networking.

    Nonetheless, lets not loose perspective here: liberal arts colleges are not trade schools, nor should Colgate and its peer universities should be expected to function as such. It is not the obligation of our nation’s elite colleges to validate outcomes in the job marketplace, especially in wake of the great recession. This is and would be a trivialization of what the liberal arts education is actually about. A momentary distortion of markets, e.g. the housing market, and sub-prime loans, is not nor cannot be a rationale for education philosophy on the highest levels. To presume such would be an abject bid for loosing our intellectual marbles, for sure.