I am holding one of my rare workshops at University of California, San Diego on Oct. 5 that will focus on how to find and pay for colleges. This will probably be the last workshop that I do at UCSD because I truly hate doing the marketing for it.
If you enroll in this 3.5-hour workshop, I promise you that you will leave knowing more about how to afford college and find good matches than at least 95% of parents out there. You can learn more about the workshop by clicking here. If you sign up soon, you will receive a free copy of my workbook, Shrinking the Cost of College. Lynn O’Shaughnessy
On Wednesday U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 college rankings.
The rankings are like catnip to colleges and some parents, which is why millions of people flock to the defunct magazine’s website at this time of year.
There never is any suspense about which schools will emerge triumphant. It’s the same old, same old schools. This year Princeton was No. 1. Last year Harvard and Princeton shared the title and sometime Harvard sits on top of the heap by itself.
I wish that the college rankings were an amusing, meaningless diversion, but they aren’t. Whether you care about the rankings or not – and most families never even look at them – they are helping to boost the cost of college for millions of families across the country.
I elaborated on this in a post that I wrote for my college blog over at CBS MoneyWatch on Wednesday: How U.S. News’ College Rankings Are Hurting Students
Below is an excerpt from the piece:
A College Rankings Winner!
I find it sad that most of the media coverage generated by the latest rankings focused on the rankings’ “winners” and “losers.”
On that score it was a big day for San Diego State University, which is just five miles from my house. San Diego State was crowing over the fact that it had leaped 31 spots to become the 152nd best “national university.” It enjoyed a larger gain than any other school in this category.
I’m wondering if that higher number is any consolation to the students at San Diego State who can’t graduate in four years. Some of my daughter’s bright high school friends still haven’t managed to graduate from San Diego State 6 1/2 years after they left high school.
As you can see below, just 30.4% of San Diego State’s students graduate in what used to be the traditional eight semester. What’s depressing is that San Diego Stat’s grad rate is actually much better than most Cal State campuses including a school in another fun place to live: San Francisco State’s grad rates is a scandalous 14.2%.
I also should note that like many California State University campuses, all academic majors at San Diego State are impacted. That means there are too many students for the number of slots available for each and every academic major. There is no guarantee, for instance, that a teenager who wants to major in kineseology or psychology or business will be able to do so.
That’s the reality of public education out here in the Golden State. But hey, let’s all celebrate San Diego State’s great rankings coup!
If you are interested in U.S. News’ response to the media that was critical of the rankings, here is a piece by Brian Kelly, the editor at U.S. News & World Report:
What Do You Think?
If you have an opinion about the rankings, I’d love to hear it. Please just use the comment box below.