Boston College fell nine spots from 2019 in this year’s Forbes America’s Top Colleges list to No. 56, dropping out of the U.S. top 50.
Forbes also placed BC at No. 37 for private colleges, and No. 26 for colleges in the Northeast, excluding it from the top 25 after its return to this margin in 2019.
BC competitor schools also saw significant drops in rankings. The University of Notre Dame ranked No. 41, a significant decrease from its previous ranking at No. 18 in 2019. Georgetown University is now No. 21—compared to No. 15 in 2019—and Boston University dropped nine spots to No. 83.
This year’s list saw a shift in spots for many colleges and universities, as Forbes’ compilers decided on a new methodology to account for low-income student outcomes.
Unlike 2019, the new methodology features seven metrics instead of six. These seven categories are weighed in percentages to correlate to each category’s relative importance.
Alumni salary accounted for 20 percent of the score, comparing each school’s average alumni salary for the first six to 10 years after graduation. Fifteen percent portions of the total score can be attributed to average federal student loan debt per alumni borrower, average time students spent paying their college costs—or their “return on investment,” average graduation rate, and the number of alumni who are placed on a Forbes American Leaders List. The college’s retention rate accounts for 10 percent, and the final 10 percent is the average students’ academic success.
Forbes noted that the 2021 list would see a significant shift in tradition, for the first time placing a public university—the University of California, Berkeley—in first place, dethroning Harvard University.
Forbes reiterated that this change was due to its attempt to re-evaluate colleges and universities amid COVID-19 in 2020. The new list aimed to reflect the marginal difference in higher education in the emerging post-COVID-19 world.
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