Higher Education

West Michigan colleges offer 'Best Bang for the Buck'

September 8, 2017
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The 256,096-square-foot Richard M. DeVos Center is a key part of GVSU’s Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy GVSU

A publication has ranked a dozen colleges in the region among the institutions in the U.S. that offer the “Best Bang for the Buck.”

Washington Monthly — a nonprofit magazine based in Washington, D.C. and known for its annual rankings of American colleges — has released its 2017 “College Guide and Rankings,” and 12 West Michigan schools made its “Best Bang for the Buck – Midwest” ranking.


Out of a sample of 1,404 public and private nonprofit and for-profit colleges in the U.S., 364 institutions were ranked on the Midwest list. The schools were rated based on their efforts to help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

For the “Best Bang for the Buck” ranking, the publication considered several factors, including tuition rates, loan re-payment, graduation rates, number of students receiving Pell grants and number of first-generation students.

Washington Monthly evaluated the schools on three equally weighted portions: social mobility; research; and community and national service. The social mobility component determined the “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings.

Other rankings

In the 2017 “College Guide and Rankings,” Washington Monthly also included separate rankings of “National Universities,” “National Universities - Liberal Arts,” “National Universities - Bachelor’s,” “National Universities - Master’s,” “Best Colleges for Adult Learners - 2-Year Colleges,” “Best Colleges for Adult Learners - 4-Year Colleges” and “Best Bang for the Buck” in other regions in the U.S.

West Michigan colleges in the “Best Bang for the Buck – Midwest” ranking

51. Ferris State University

57. Western Michigan University

73. Grand Valley State University

74. Kalamazoo College

136. Kuyper College

170. Central Michigan University

198. Hope College

243. Alma College

274. Cornerstone University

286. Aquinas College

288. Calvin College

363. Andrews University

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