What the proliferating lists of college rankings are saying about graduation rates, salaries of grads, solar power, and happiness.
Climbing Forbes’ chart
Forbes magazine has SCU climbing the charts for the fourth consecutive year, placing it at 67 out of the 650 best undergraduate institutions in the country. This is up from No. 115 in 2010. Forbes looks at five weighted categories for its rankings, with nearly 60 percent of the score based on alumni pay and prominence, professor evaluations from Ratemyprofessor.com, and freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rates. SCU edged out U.C. Berkeley at No. 70.
U.S. News says …
Santa Clara held its position as the No. 2 master’s university in the West on the U.S. News & World Report list. Contributing to SCU’s high ranking: the third-highest undergraduate graduation rate in the country—85 percent—among 626 national master’s level universities; the highest average freshman retention rate—93 percent—of master’s universities in the West; and an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate education. Other factors include academic reputation, class size, percent of full-time faculty, student/ faculty ratios, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.
Earn a living
Employee salary data collection company PayScale conducted a national survey of bachelors graduates to determine earning power based on starting and midcareer median salaries. The crowded California field received its own list where Santa Clara ranked fourth, with survey results at $52,900 and $105,000 respectively. Sixty-four universities were ranked.
Shine: Top 3 in solar
In a database unveiled in October, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education named SCU as having one of the largest roof-mounted photovoltaic installations in the United States. Santa Clara has 1,050 kilowatts of solar panels on four of its buildings, making it the third-largest rooftop system among all American colleges and universities. The system generates 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy and eliminates 511 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That’s equivalent to taking 127 small cars off the road for an entire year.
Newsweek determined the 25 “Happiest Colleges” in America (seriously) and placed Santa Clara among them. We don’t disagree. Newsweek researchers used other folks’ data to crunch the numbers for their results. Along with ratings of student-teacher ratio and housing and other factors, they tallied the number of sunny days per year. Which also helps when it comes to solar power.