We use data collected by the IPEDS and College Navigator to create our rankings; both sources are managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. The information from these sites allows us to accurately rank schools based on affordability and academics. The following criteria provides a glimpse of how we rank each school.
Per-Credit Hour Cost (Part-time Graduate)
Some programs require part-time graduates to pay a different tuition than full-time learners. It’s important to look at these differences and determine whether they are reasonable.
Published In-State Tuition (Graduate)
It’s common for schools to charge out-of-state learners a higher tuition rate, but others charge the same rate for all students, particularly online programs. It’s important to note different tuition rates when determining a program’s rating.
The admissions rate is calculated by dividing the number of admitted students by the number of applicants. A low admissions rate usually means that a school has a high number of applicants. It also improves a program’s ranking, as it shows high academic standards.
A high enrollment rate means that a program was the first choice for many students and often makes a school more desirable. It refers to the percentage of applicants who chose to complete their program at a school.
A school’s retention rate represents overall student satisfaction. Retention rate is determined by the percentage of students who completed their first year and continued their studies at the school.
This is the product of graduate population divided by the total student body. This criteria represents the number of students seeking advanced education at an institution.
National Student Loan Data System
Loan Default Rate
A low loan default rate signifies a school’s affordability. Some schools offer many scholarship and grant opportunities, while others offer an overall low tuition rate to make their programs more affordable. The loan default rate represent the percentage of students who were unable to make an on-time loan payment for nine consecutive months. If a school lacks sufficient data, a zero is given.
Schools are ranked on a 100 point scale and can attain a perfect score by ranking first in all criteria. All institutions are accredited, not for profit, and send annual reports to the NCES. Our rankings include private and public schools.
Avg 10 Year Earnings
This takes the average across the three segments of 10 year earnings for graduates from these schools
Affordability (40% of total)
- Loan Default Rate (10%)
- Published in-state tuition (graduate) (30%)
- Avg 10 Year Earnings (30%)
Academics (50% of total)
- Graduate Enrollment (25%)
- Enrollment Rate (30%)
- Retention Rate (25%)
Online (10% of total)
- # of Online Master’s Programs (100%)