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Posted on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Forbes ranks University of Michigan No. 30 college in America

By Kellie Woodhouse


University of Michigan's campus

Forbes ranked the University of Michigan as the No. 30 college in nation in its 2013 list of America's Top Colleges.

The Ann Arbor school ranked third among non-military public colleges —topped by the University of California at Berkley and the University of Virginia— and fourth among Midwestern colleges.

The top college on the list is Stanford University. The U.S. Military Academy ranked seventh.

Last year U-M ranked 57th on Forbes' list.

Forbes partners with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity to compile the ranking, which uses measures of student satisfaction, post-graduate success, graduation rates, student debt levels and national recognition to score colleges.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Wake Up A2

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Well we beat state. Did you notice EMU was 610.....


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

As a WMU grad working in medical device design this list is laughable. I work side by side with UofM and MSU grads (top 100 schools)....WMU limps in at 400+? Have I risen above the 7-11 clerk job or does Forbes not do a true evaluation?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Stand your ground - No duty to retreat, regardless of where attack takes place. Castle doctrine - No duty to retreat if in the home. Almost all states have some sort of Castle Doctrine that allows you to shoot a home invader without question. There are a few states that require slightly more evidence to suggest you were in danger and rather than a state legislation, they go by case law. Meaning, they operate on rulings in previous cases rather than a specific state law. It's conceivable that in a state like Vermont for instance, that one could have such an easy way to escape that they rule the shooting unjustified. it's very unlikely in this day and age though. Either way, the OP incorrectly uses SYG. SYG only really applies outside of the home.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

In case anyone's wondering, this was meant for this article: I got my tabs mixed up.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

I rank Forbes in the top five money magazines I don't read anymore.

K Thompson

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Could this "article" be any shorter or less detailed and informative? I think not.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

Hi K, sorry you are disappointed. There is one higher education reporter at (me!) and I try to get to what I can and expand on newsworthy issues when appropriate. There are so many rankings, it really isn't sensible to write an in-depth article on each. (I have, however, been wanting to write an article about rankings and how they're viewed by schools and by students and their impact...) Right now I am spending my time delving into other things, but I still wanted to bring the ranking information to readers. If you want to talk more about editorial decisions or let me know your suggestions for coverage, feel free to drop me a line. 734-623-4602.

K Thompson

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

My mistake. I was looking for journalism, thoughtful background (aka research) and analysis, not a list if links. Click, click, very little thought or much effort, click, click, on to simetjing else equally shallow.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Hi KT- As craigjjs pointed out this is a common practice for us, and most other news sites, to make a short post linking to the more detailed information. This allows us to help make local readers aware of something that may be of interest of them while respecting the work of the original publication.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

I think it was appropriate. The link was there for the details.

Michigan Man

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

Things trending south at U of M these days?

Blue Marker

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Last year they were 57th, so I guess no would be the answer to your question.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

Forbes Ranking=junk continued...Part Deux "3. Student Debt (17.5%) Average Federal Student Loan Debt Load(10%)Student Loan Default Rates(5%)Predicted vs. Actual Percent of Students Taking Federal Loans(2.5%)" This is a pure wealth index; we should not pretend that it has anything to do with education. As is true of 4 year graduation rates, it is more tied to family wealth than it is to student achievement. "4. Four-year Graduation Rate (11.25%) Actual Four-year Graduation Rate(8.75%)Predicted vs. Actual Four-year Graduation Rate(2.5%)" See above: this is a blend of wealth index and parsing out model error. This dimension conflates two things which have less than zero to do with education. "5. Academic Success (11.25%) Student Nationally Competitive Awards(7.5%)Alumni Receiving PhDs (3.75%) School Selection" Finally, a dimension that actually has something to do with education...graduate success. So, of the dimensions used, very little of the actual ranking has to do with academic success. It is also a strange ranking in that it compares the proverbial apples to oranges: small liberal arts schools to mega-research schools. Any rational ranking (for example some of the Carnegie work) separates institutions by mission and by funding and by size. Throwing all of these schools into a pot and coming up with one ranking is farcical.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

As I noted elsewhere in these pages, the Forbes ranking is not an academic is a bid to grab market share from the US News franchise, which is very profitable. Below is there methodology and some comments: 1) "Student Satisfaction (25%)" Sure, students can opine about their state of mind and happiness, but probably don't bring much to the party as to weighing/measuring academic stature. " Student Evaluations from (15%)" Same comments as above. "Actual Freshman-to-Sophomore Retention Rates(5%)" Both the student and the school have a responsibility to find a good match. If there is a failure to match, it is usually bilateral. "Predicted vs. Actual Freshman-to-Sophomore Retention Rates(5%)" This is hilarious: Forbes has built a model, and if the model is in error, it either rewards or punishes the school, not the model builder. "2. Post-Graduate Success (35%) Salary of Alumni from (15%)" This is a reasonable dimension to measure, but getting an education is not all about the money. "American Leaders List(20%)" This is a "tail event": it is pretty silly to measure a school based on the 1% or less who make it to this list.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

trespass wrote that the average family income of UofM students is $180k, it is likely higher than that, the UofM survey producing these numbers historically has asked incoming freshmen to respond to a bracketed income distribution where the top bracket is "over $250k." I do not know for sure but believe they base their average by putting all those who say "over $250k"at $250,000. Historically more checked the >250 than any other bracket. Very obviously many in that group have family incomes significantly higher. UofM is full of BS, their student body is way skewed towards the very very top income families. It is a bipolar distribution and guess what- it's the middle income population that looses. Thank you wealthy uberliberals for taking away our public institution.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

I guess that is why liberals want to keep admissions policies that promote diversity, and conservatives want more white, upper class freshmen?

Blue Marker

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

what4, you just got "schooled" by blue.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

In a nutshell you see in this call and response the difference between knee jerk blather and actual intelligence, science and reason. Thanks blue85 for showing the true value of a quality education.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

"UofM is full of BS, their student body is way skewed towards the very very top income families." As you have stated, family income is expressed in bucketed categories. In order to adduce skew, as you have done, you'd have to know the moments of the distribution. But since those moments are not published, and may not even be calculated, you are making an assertion with zero support. "It is a bipolar distribution and guess what- it's the middle income population that looses." I think you mean bi-modal, but how are you going to support the fact that the middle class has experienced "looses"? Every year, as the endowment grows, the university offers more financial aid. Every year, that aid is tilted toward lower income quantiles. Every year since 2004 it has gotten a bit less expensive for families under $80,000 to attend the university. So, again, your assertion is without merit. "Thank you wealthy uberliberals for taking away our public institution." So, now it is the liberals who have all the money? Are you really suggesting that it is the "liberal" part of our society which refuses to fund education? As a generic group, though I generally dislike generalizations, it is the liberal class that likes fact-based reasoning and which shies away from bible-thumping. It is the liberal class that supports education; it seems to be conservatives that want things like separate but equal and unproven voucher systems in order to further degrade public education at all levels. I'm not sure what a liberal is, beyond a word used for sloganeering, but I'm pretty sure those folks are not the root of the problem.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:43 p.m.

Can't say that the Prison on the Hudson deserves the spot it was given, but... Go Navy! (At least we're better than the bus drivers in Colorado Springs).


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

here is a real soapbox rant... but these rankings are just an extension of everything that is wrong with educational institutions! a better way to frame it would be to compare colleges based on their restraint and how little damage they manage to do losing points for: how stressed the students feel the perceived importance of GPA how much pressure they feel themselves under how much salary influences students' career focus a win-at-all-costs attitude of their sports teams the narrowness of their sport program how often students are in ill physical health how many students feel like they didnt truly "earn" their degree or thats its just a piece of paper how fiercely (defensively) students rep their college as 'better' or 'the best' and then we would see that there is no clear number 1, because every student need something different but then we would have not schools (nor young people) to deify


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

im not ranting against students--but the environment they are plunged into. but the teaching staff also suffers from the bureaurocracy bearing down on them. and the bureaurocracy is prone to pressure from public attitudes. it all rains down on the students if they are not sheltered. ken robinson has a good TED talk challenging the institutionalized education system progressive education has suffered a counter movement in recent years and the Michelle Rhees and Waiting for Supermans have ridden the wave but it all panders to the fantasy that we can force young people to flower


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Your soapbox rant seems largely directed at university students in general. Maybe you have another model in mind or is this just fantasy?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

You have losing points for trying to get a high GPA? Ummm, yeah, that's pretty important if you ever want a degree beyond a bachelors!

Nick Danger

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Maybe it's because undergrads seldom meet a professor orthe class size of 900


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 4:05 a.m.

I met many profs in my time at umich. After the intro classes (the huge ones), you end up in small classes taught by experts in the field. A trade off of going to a large uni is that you have some large classes before you get to the profs, but when you do, they are the best you can get.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Clearly UM is not very good. Nobody applies there any more and people hate working there.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

Forbes has fallen so far that it is no longer credible about anything. They left people with the last name of Forbes in positions of leadership when the Forbes family are really just rich, political hacks with no distinguishing skills.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

You don't mean Steve Forbes do you, Mr. Flat Tax Rate?

An Arborigine

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

We're number thirty! wooohoooo!!


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

How many of thses top schools offer in state tuition to out of state, "undocumented" students?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

More lies from the enlightened.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Gonavy - Can you give me more details? I have found only two examples of foreign nationals in Service Academies. The first is an exchange program. The second is pursuant to 10 USC 4344 authorizing the Army to accept up to 60 foreign nationals, but the countries of origin are required to pay all expense.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

If you don't like that, you're not going to be happy to know that our Service Academies offer taxpayer-funded educations to dozens of foreign nationals every year, with no obligation to those graduates to have anything to do with the United States in any capacity now, or in the future.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

All the $$ for the the top 50 schools, except for UNC - Chapel Hill were within a couple thou of each other. Hardly any bargains in the lot... I think I smell winds of change blowing over the ivy-covered walls of higher ed. They're all going to end-up like the cities - gasping for dollars as they slowly price themselves out of business.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 5:07 a.m.

Baloney, ahi! There are plenty of folks from top 50 schools waiting tables for life and wishing they hadn't borrowed so much for college. There are simply too many college grads for the number of available jobs in this country, or many others, for that matter. Kids today would be better served by becoming skilled trades people of one sort or another. Call an HVAC guy or take your car for service and check-out the labor rates. Even if the worker only gets 1/3 of what the shop charges/hour, they do pretty well.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

All of the top 50 schools are bargains. It's the schools that are half the cost but a tenth of the quality that are rip offs.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

Are you sure Forbes did not mean the football team?


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Who reads Forbes anyway? A rating system that rates the same institution in 57th place one year and 30th the next is simply not using a reliable or scientific process to compare institutions. What did the U of M do to jump ahead 27 places? Not possible if the same process was used each year.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I don't think anyone would accuse these lists of using a scientific process. I think Newsweek was the purveyor of the goto college lists before they closed us shop last year.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

It was noted by Forbes that the Stadium Bridge overpass was finally complete, and thus the jump!:) OR Forbes found out Mary Sue was retiring!:)

Dog Guy

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

"The Ann Arbor school ranked third among non-military public colleges . . . and fourth among Midwestern colleges." That's two more top-ten listings!


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

UM should be on a Forbes list for the richest students in America since the median family income for a student at UM is now $180,000.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

Hey Craigjjs, use tinyurl to concatenate the URL. Works great.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

@Trespass: What is the source for your claim that median family income of students is $180,000?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

The link to my reference was cut off. Sorry.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

What is the basis for your claim that UM students are among the richest? I haven't found any studies comparing the family incomes of students, but I suspect the Ivy League families are doing just fine. Back in 2005 the median family income for University of Virginia students was between $100,000 and $150,000. (I picked UVA because it is near the top of the list, the information was available and I am an alumnus). If there is a valid comparison out there, it would be good to see. Otherwise I can only conclude that this post was just unsupported UM bashing.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

The incoming "undocumented" freshmen will make UM look more friendly to low income families


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

The incoming "undocumented" freshmen will make UM looks more friendly to low income families.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

These rankings should always be taken with a grain--or a few pounds--of salt.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Interestingly, I've heard U-M administrators talk about how they don't really use rankings to measure their success, but how at the same time they seek a high ranking because such is the measuring stick often used by parents, students and the outside world.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

They must have made a mistake. U of M must be in the top 10.