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The Economist ranks ONU first among Ohio’s four-year liberal arts schools, third overall in the state

Nov 16, 2015

The Economist has ranked Ohio Northern University first among Ohio’s four-year liberal arts schools, and third overall in the state, in its first-ever set of college rankings. ONU placed 166 out of the more than 1,200 schools from across the nation.

ONU, which ranked in the 87th percentile, placed third behind Columbus College of Art and Design and the Cleveland Art Institute in Ohio.

The rankings are based on whether a college’s alumni fare better than expected in the labor market, as measured by earnings 10 years after starting school. Using a range of variables (a college’s location, its religious affiliation, its students’ SAT scores, the socioeconomic and racial mix of its student body, whether it has a business school, and more), The Economist predicted what graduates would earn.

According to the rankings, the expected earnings for ONU graduates are $50,459; its median earnings are $54,000 with an over-performance number of $3,841. The average median for an average college is $42,741.

According to The Economist, these college rankings are based on a simple premise: The economic value of a university is equal to the gap between how much money its graduates earn, and how much they might have made had they studied elsewhere. Because of a scorecard provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the first number is easily accessible. The second, however, can only be estimated. To calculate this figure, The Economist ran the scorecard’s earnings data through a multiple regression analysis, a common method of measuring the relationships between variables.