Penn, fresh off of earning a designation as the “most beautiful college in Pennsylvania,” is no stranger to ranking highly in lists of American colleges and universities. But, in lists ranking affordability and access, Penn still has ground to cover with its peers in the Ivy League and across the country, according to a series of recent rankings.
The most recent such ranking, published by MONEY Magazine, a magazine affiliate of Time, Inc., listed Penn 27th on a list of the 711 “best colleges for your money.”
The magazine based its ranking off of 27 data points in three categories: quality of education, affordability and outcomes.
Four Ivy League universities, including top-ranked Princeton, edged out Penn on the list.
MONEY determined “affordability" by tracking each institution’s tuition without aid, tuition paid with the average grant, the percentage of students that receive need-based grants and the percentage that receive merit-based grants. The magazine also looked at the median SAT/ACT scores and the average early career earnings.
In college rankings focusing on affordability and access, Penn’s standing has fluctuated relative to its peers. The New York Times’ College Affordability Index, released in May, listed Penn 45th among 170 schools, below many of its peers in the “Ivy Plus” group of schools, with the exception of Georgetown University and Cornell University.
The Forbes Best Value Colleges ranking, which uses a similar methodology, focused on alumni earnings and median student debt, among other indicators, listed Penn 44th, again behind many of its peers except for Columbia.
On college-ranking site Niche’s ranking, Penn ranked as high as ninth place, third among Ivy League universities on the list. Niche takes into account social life and the quality of campus athletic teams, in contrast to Forbes and MONEY.
University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy declined to offer comment on Penn’s comparatively low ranking on MONEY’s “best colleges for your money” list.
“As a matter of practice we don’t comment on individual rankings, all of which use slightly different metrics,” MacCarthy said in an email.