Money Magazine ranked St. Mary’s University the best university in San Antonio, fourth in Texas and 52nd nationally in its Best Value Colleges ranking released Monday.
Five Texas schools were in the top 100: Rice (No. 4), Texas A&M (13), UT-Austin (50), St. Mary’s (52) and UT-Dallas (91). St. Mary’s tied for 52nd nationwide with Columbia University in New York City. Princeton University ranked first overall.
“This ranking shows just how valuable it is to get a degree from St. Mary’s University,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D. “We’re again among the top schools, not just in Texas, but in the country. It speaks volumes about the quality education students receive here, as well as the personal growth and development that occurs at the same time. Our graduates go out into the world and make a difference.”
Money took about 2,000 four-year institutions in the United States and narrowed the list by eliminating schools that have fewer than 500 students, a graduation rate below median, insufficient data, or a status of being in financial difficulty, according to the ranking’s methodology. The top 705 “good-value colleges” were then ranked based on quality of education, affordability and graduate job success.
“We encourage parents and students to use lists like Money’s as a starting point to discover high-value colleges – colleges that the data show are doing great jobs with their students – that they might not have heard of,” Money senior writer Kim Clark said in an email. “St. Mary’s University is a good example of this.”
She said St. Mary’s fared so well in the rankings because “comparative value,” aka “value-added,” measures – such as graduation rates, student loan repayment and alumni earnings – make up more than a quarter of Money’s weighting.
“Schools with student populations with similar academic and economic backgrounds have, on average, much lower graduation rates – typically in the 40-50 percent range,” said Clark, noting that St. Mary’s has a 63 percent graduation rate in the latest data available.
St. Mary’s alumni pay off student loans faster than average and hold more meaningful jobs, Clark said, citing the federal College Scorecard and PayScale.com, respectively.
“So we feel these numbers show St. Mary’s University is giving lots of students opportunities and helping them graduate into good jobs,” she said.
Money used data from the U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, PayScale.com and Money/College Measures calculations.
St. Mary’s also ranks 13th nationally in Money’s recent “50 Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into” list.
Last year, St. Mary’s scored 99 out of 100 in a Brookings Institution study that shows how well colleges prepare students for careers. It was the nation’s 17th highest value-added score with respect to mid-career salary. This score was highest in San Antonio and right behind Rice University for best in Texas.
St. Mary’s also ranked No. 7 among 51 Texas colleges and universities for salary potential in PayScale.com’s 2015-16 rankings.