Undergraduate Degree Program Methodology

Our goal here at College Values Online is to provide the most current and relevant information necessary for prospective students to find a high-quality education at the most affordable price. We believe that presenting this information allows for greater opportunity to make an informed decision as they plan their educational goals. To this end, we have designed a methodology matrix that helps us to determine which colleges and universities can provide this education. Based primarily upon per credit tuition costs, we also considered factors like the potential return on investment, scholarship availability, and overall academic quality.

Our sources include the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individual subject rankings may include additional sources, which will be defined within that ranking’s source list.

When developing rankings, the editors at College Values Online search the web to develop a pool of schools that fit the bill of whatever degree program being analyzed. The tuition cap is set at $30,000, which will eliminate any institutions whose costs are greater. From there, we consult our sources and apply the methodology matrix that has been set to determine which schools from the remaining pool will be placed within the ranking. We determine each school’s position by tallying the points they receive based on the methodology.

Schools that appear in the rankings are there based solely on merit. We do not accept payment in any form from institutions for placement in the rankings.

Online Bachelor’s Degree Methodology

Tuition:

  • Under $10,000 – 4 points
  • Under $15,000 – 3 points
  • Under $20,000 – 2 points
  • Under $25,000 – 1 point

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com:

  • Top 150: 3 points
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 500: 1 point

In-House Scholarship Availability: 1 point per
Accelerated Program Availability: 1 point
Online Student Support Network: (faculty/mentor/advisor, etc.) 1 point per

On-Campus Bachelor’s Degree Methodology

Tuition:

  • Under $10,000 – 4 points
  • Under $15,000 – 3 points
  • Under $20,000 – 2 points
  • Under $25,000 – 1 point

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com:

  • Top 150: 3 points
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 500: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio:

  • 10:1 – 4 points
  • 15:1 – 3 points
  • 20:1 – 2 points
  • 25:1 – 1 point

In-House Scholarship Availability: 1 point per
Program-Related Clubs, Activities, etc.: 1 point per
Degree Specific Alumni Network Opportunities: 1 point per
“Wow Factor”: 1 point

Bambi Majumdar
Author

Melissa Anderson
Expert

Julie McCaulley
Editor-in-Chief