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July 20, 2017

Best colleges for your money? MSU cracks top 30

When it comes to using your college degree to get a job and achieve success, Michigan State University is one of the top 30 universities in the nation, according to a new ranking by Money Magazine.

The magazine, owned by Time Inc., analyzed 2,400 schools based on educational quality, affordability and alumni success and came up with the “711 Best Colleges for Your Money.”

Michigan State came in at No. 30 – which puts the university in the top 1.5 percent of the 2,400 colleges considered for the ranking. MSU ranked higher than all but three Big Ten universities and ahead of such institutions as the University of Chicago, Cornell, Duke and Dartmouth. Princeton University topped the list.

Over the past four years, MSU has climbed steadily in Money’s ranking, rising from #122 in 2014, to #109 in 2015, to #54 in 2016, to #30 this year.

The ranking focuses on return on investment. “You’ve heard of the Ivy League?” says an article in Money accompanying the ranking. “Nowadays, bragging rights are going to colleges in what we’ll dub the ‘Paycheck League’ – schools that the real numbers show provide a boost in the job market.”

Some high-priced private colleges scored poorly because their alumni aren’t thriving in the job market. Money Magazine warned prospective students of confusing exclusivity with success.

“Objective data on alumni success debunk the myth that the best schools are exclusive,” the article says. “Michigan State, Texas A&M and the University of Washington accept more than 60 percent of their in-state applicants. But all three cracked our top 50, have unusually high graduation rates and produce young alumni with average earnings of at least $50,000 a year.”

MSU’s graduation rate of 77 percent is 15 percent higher “than would be expected for students with similar test scores and economic backgrounds,” Money says.

Michigan State is working to improve that already high graduation rate through its new “Go Green, Go 15” campaign, which encourages students to carry full credit loads to graduate more quickly, cut their costs and even earn better grades.

The campaign is part of MSU’s overall Student Success Initiative, which is focused on increasing the university’s overall graduation rate to 82 percent by 2020 and closing opportunity gaps for lower-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority student populations.

According to Money, while Michigan State is “nationally known for its competitive sports teams, the Spartans, MSU is also recognized internationally as a major research university. MSU ranks in the top among U.S. universities in both international student enrollment and participation in study abroad programs. It offers students more than 275 such programs in some 60 countries.”