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Posted on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

Top 50 Colleges & Universities in America: Where Michigan stands on inaugural list

By Paula Gardner

A college ranking website released its first "Top 50 Colleges and Universities in America" and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor was the only school in the state to make the list.

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The ranking by includes academic quality and student satisfaction — also used by other major ranking systems — but also considers things like the economic value of a school and the quality of life of its location, according to the San Antonio, Texas-based website.

So where does that put U-M?

It's listed at Number 21.

The reason: "One of the original 'Public Ivies' offers comparable academic quality and many of the amenities of much more expensive schools while continuing to open up greater access to lower income students."

It also cites Ann Arbor's relatively low cost of living.

The ranking puts U-M behind Princeton (1), Harvard (2), Swarthmore (3) among other highly regarded institutions.

U-M is the highest-ranked Big Ten school on the list, ahead of Purdue (38), the University of Illinois (43) and Northwestern (45).



Sat, Aug 13, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

NEWS FLASH: UM Board of Trustees have announced a new slogan for Michigan. "The Princeton of the Midwest."


Sat, Aug 13, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

I've done some hiring in the past decade. I have never checked to see where the school a person graduated from was ranked. And yes, some of the people I hired were from some pretty good schools. Some of our better employees are from less recognized schools.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Aug 13, 2011 : 4:58 a.m.

10dz, your comment reminds me... one day I was talking to Jim Cramer... yes... that Jim Cramer. He made a comment to me, that I've always remembered and it went something like this... i hire the top people from the 2nd best schools, because they have something to prove to those in the best schools. perhaps they didn't get in because of $$ or a high gmat, or some other issue, but they are determined to work hard and beat those in the top schools. that's who i want.

Tom Teague

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

@Alan - thanks for posting the data and good on you for putting on your skeptic's hat. In reality, you AND Trespass could be right because we don't know what the distribution is above the $250,000 mark. And to your point, that's why simply providing the average salary of a family with a student at U of M is really a meaningless exercise. It's like saying that I have 1.5 siblings, 2.5 kids, or drive 1.78 vehicles - it doesn't reflect distribution or reality. I hope no one is making any big decisions based on simple averaging. That's really very base analysis and only good as an indicator of where to look for more information.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

Thanks Tom, I was reading median in his post. But the whole thing is irrelevant anyway. The average family income for a UM student is higher than that of an MSU student which is higher than that of a WSU student. But that is an indication of the correlation between educational achievement and socio-economic status. I'm not sure what Trespass is suggesting is wrong with the university or what they should do differently. 90% of UM freshman identify themselves as high achievers and half identify themselves as future engineers, MD's, attorneys, or business executives. This doesn't surprise me either.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

More meaningless lists... UGH! Fuhgeddahboudit!


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

You're right, nickcw, although I hear a variant of that chant: "We're 21! We're 21! No more MIPs . . . We're 21!"


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

To the Alumni, this has got to be a blow just like the performance of the football team lately. At least I will not have to hear anymore talk about Michigan's academic and football greatness. They were beat by Swarthmore in academics and U of Toledo in football? Go ahead and cry U of M alumni, get it out of your system. :)


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

Okay,, why are my comments not posting as I write them? All of the numbers are getting deleted. Here's the link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

alan- that data from 2008 puts the median family income between 100-150k. Hanlon and Illitch may have been using the most recent data.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

alan. thanks for the link. fascinating stuff.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Wow, my whole post got chopped up. Try a different format. 250K, 16.9%.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

For trespass who presumably didn't take the time to look for it: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

Thank you. I did miss that. Note that for public universities like UM the costs are calculated from in-state tuition but the average financial aid is for all students. The incoming class is 39% out of state students so the ranking would be considerably different for those students. Some other dubious criteria are things like median age of the city where the university is located. It favors Universities in college towns over those like Washington University in St. Louis for example. The criteria they use for academic quality are very dubious. All that said, I think it is important to know who is doing the ranking so that we can understand any conflicts of interest they may have.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

Trespass- You have posted this same supposed statistic for months and a) it's not true, b) what is your point. The U of M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching compiles all statistical data for U of M students and freely publishes it. Family income % 250K 16.9 Your 180K figure is greatly exaggerated. These statistics are just about the same as other highly selective public institutions and reflect to some degree the academic preparedness of the students. Some comment at a meeting by someone who was not privy to the facts is not worthwhile. Even if the average family income is higher than average, what is the point?


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 11 p.m.

I think that the Provost and Regent Illitch should know this statistic if they cite it in a speech at the Regents meeting or to the faculty, as they both did. The point was the quote that the UM is &quot;continuing to open up greater access to lower income students&quot; is not true and the UM has actually been criticised by two accrediting agencies for their lack of low income students.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

I'm a UofM fan and so the next list is disappointing. But here's a list that you might not hear about in the local marketing/press... according to the article.. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;We try and evaluate the college purchase as a consumer would: Is it worth spending as much as a quarter of a million dollars for this degree? &quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> #60 Hillsdale #93 UofM #95 Kalamazoo #115 Albion #194 Hope #218 calvin #349 Michigan State #469 Alma #508 Michigan Tech #545 Andrews #562 Grand Valley #564 Wayne State #611 Oakland #626 CMU #641 EMU #645 Western Michigan

Smart Logic

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Slipping, aren't they? Hope your new dean treats you better.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

Here are a couple rankings. I'm sure there are more out there.... Business Week <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> #6 Undergrad, #7 EMBA, #7 Full time MBA, #5 Part-time MBA, #8 Exec Ed Forbes <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> #14 US News <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> #14 overall, #5 accounting, #8 exec MBA, #5 international, #5 management, #9 marketing, #6 non profit, #4 part time MBA, #5 production WSJ Exec MBA #15 <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Recruiter Pick #6 <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Smart Logic

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

We're 93! We're 93! What are the Business School rankings at now, Kai?


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Who sponsors this list? What is their methodology? The site says it is transparent about its methodology but I cannot find anywhere on their website that describes their methodology. I tried sending them an email but the message system did not work. How is this reporting? No questions asked! Did you try to contact them and ask some questions? Just because U of M is listed does not make this news. What if this is an organization set up by a PR firm for member universities? Now that you have published this, I think you owe it to your readers to do some investigating and report back as to who this company is and what is their methodology. &quot;One of the original 'Public Ivies' offers comparable academic quality and many of the amenities of much more expensive schools while continuing to open up greater access to lower income students.&quot; Really! The average family income for a UM student is more than $180,000 (verified by Hanlon and Illitch) and they have been criticized in two reports from accrediting associations as not taking enough low income students.. The reason they did not raise the out of state tuition more than they did this year was because they were getting to be too expensive (stated by Hanlon at the Regetns meeting). Are they using in state or out of state tuition in their ranking?

John B.

Sat, Aug 13, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Reporting? What's that? ;-) 'Reporters? We don't need no stinkin' reporters!'


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

In a few short weeks, the hallowed chamber of the Big House will echo with the thrilling sound of 111,000 Maize-And-Blue voices raised in the storied chant, &quot;We're 21! We're 21!&quot; It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.


Fri, Aug 12, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Good Lord, yet another &quot;list&quot; for those who are compulsively status conscious. UofM has its strengths and its weaknesses. Prospective students should evaluate whether the school will meet their needs, not clamor to be admitted because of some arbitrary ranking. I did my undergrad at MSU, which was much more than adequate to prepare me for my UofM graduate degree, was less expensive, and didn't submerge me in some of the less healthy hyper-competitiveness among UofM students. For others, UofM undergraduate may be ideal. How relevant is yet another top 50 list?