Most Transformative Colleges

It’s not surprising that elite schools report high graduation rates or alumni success. What’s impressive is when when students beat the odds by doing better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds. We call this a college’s value add. For this list, we ranked colleges based on our exclusive value-added scores for graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment, eliminating schools with below-average scores.

Published on Aug. 12, 2019. Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.

College Name
Overall
MONEY
Rank
Median SAT/ACT score
Est. price 2019-20 with avg. grant
% of students who get any grants
Average student debt
Early career earnings
Earnings premium over peers
College Name
Overall
MONEY
Rank
Median SAT/ACT score
Est. price 2019-20 with avg. grant
% of students who get any grants
Average student debt
Early career earnings
Earnings premium over peers
155
1
Riverdale, NY
1150/26 $38,300 85% $26,000 $62,600 $15,200
142
2
1020/19 $30,900 82% $26,000 $52,800 $8,100
356
3
1160/25 $41,300 84% $27,000 $63,700 $14,800
12
4
1200/26 $13,200 81% $19,000 $54,000 $8,000
68
5
NA/NA $7,200 82% $14,220 $48,000 $3,200
148
6
NA/NA $45,900 92% $27,000 $71,700 $20,700
29
7
1020/20 $6,400 70% $13,830 $49,600 $4,400
104
8
1110/23 $14,800 61% $15,000 $61,300 $13,500
93
9
NA/NA $15,800 69% $15,000 $49,300 $3,500
73
10
1210/23 $12,700 65% $18,110 $55,000 $7,100
51
11
1010/19 $6,300 75% $14,370 $49,800 $3,900
13
12
1130/23 $10,300 70% $15,000 $51,100 $4,300
204
13
New Rochelle, NY
1080/23 $28,800 90% $26,000 $53,800 $7,800
41
14
1120/24 $13,500 67% $18,500 $56,000 $7,300
43
15
NA/NA $28,800 56% $28,000 $58,800 $7,600
63
16
1070/21 $12,000 69% $13,750 $48,700 $3,300
22
17
1100/22 $9,100 65% $14,800 $49,400 $3,600
1
18
1260/29 $14,900 66% $16,500 $57,700 $7,000
70
19
1000/19 $9,300 81% $15,000 $47,900 $3,100
56
20
1080/22 $15,100 62% $16,750 $55,100 $8,100
2
21
1270/NA $4,900 55% $10,720 $57,100 $5,300
75
22
1070/NA $16,300 48% $23,000 $49,100 $3,600
223
23
Philadelphia, PA
NA/NA $28,000 89% $27,000 $53,700 $8,900
5
24
1250/29 $17,600 67% $14,000 $59,400 $6,900
25
25
1120/23 $15,500 48% $26,930 $67,200 $15,600
58
26
Schenectady, NY
NA/NA $39,600 77% $25,830 $60,900 $10,000
144
27
1050/21 $14,500 59% $16,710 $55,200 $8,100
9
28
1310/30 $15,600 58% $17,500 $61,300 $6,700
160
29
1000/20 $21,900 69% $23,000 $48,400 $2,300
225
30
970/20 $18,700 85% $27,000 $50,600 $6,800
311
31
Minneapolis, MN
1100/22 $25,600 91% $27,000 $49,300 $2,100
257
32
1020/20 $14,300 89% $23,800 $51,800 $6,800
166
33
NA/NA $26,100 55% $22,000 $54,600 $3,700
243
34
1040/21 $11,200 66% $17,500 $50,400 $4,500
132
35
Lake Forest, IL
NA/NA $27,400 96% $27,000 $53,700 $6,000
432
36
1180/25 $40,200 87% $27,000 $61,300 $10,600
85
37
Albany, NY
1170/24 $17,200 61% $20,500 $51,500 $2,600
38
37
Lewiston, ME
NA/NA $24,900 46% $14,120 $57,500 $4,800
381
38
1080/21 $26,400 86% $26,000 $47,600 $3,300
195
39
1060/21 $8,900 46% $15,890 $51,200 $4,400
307
40
1040/22 $20,600 54% $24,970 $48,400 $1,200
88
41
1300/29 $39,100 65% $26,000 $64,600 $8,600
30
42
1300/31 $17,200 62% $16,300 $57,300 $5,400
273
43
Philadelphia, PA
1010/NA $16,800 73% $26,500 $50,200 $5,500
139
44
NA/NA $40,300 81% $27,000 $59,600 $8,000
4
45
1340/32 $15,800 59% $15,000 $60,000 $4,500
157
46
1240/28 $45,100 89% $27,000 $53,600 $3,600
106
47
1290/28 $36,500 96% $26,790 $53,800 $4,500
324
48
North Andover, MA
NA/NA $35,400 92% $27,000 $54,700 $3,800
246
49
1090/21 $24,200 78% $23,400 $52,100 $5,000
478
50
1030/21 $23,100 90% $25,000 $47,200 $2,200
Rank
1
Pomona, CA
Money rank
41
Median SAT/ACT score
1120/24
2
San Bernardino, CA
Money rank
70
Median SAT/ACT score
1000/19
3
Montclair, NJ
Money rank
75
Median SAT/ACT score
1070/NA
4
Davis, CA
Money rank
5
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/29
5
Buzzards Bay, MA
Money rank
25
Median SAT/ACT score
1120/23
6
Schenectady, NY
Money rank
58
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
7
Sparkill, NY
Money rank
160
Median SAT/ACT score
1000/20
8
Farmingdale, NY
Money rank
195
Median SAT/ACT score
1060/21
9
Framingham, MA
Money rank
307
Median SAT/ACT score
1040/22
10
Philadelphia, PA
Money rank
273
Median SAT/ACT score
1010/NA
11
Canton, NY
Money rank
106
Median SAT/ACT score
1290/28
12
Turlock, CA
Money rank
68
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
13
San Jose, CA
Money rank
104
Median SAT/ACT score
1110/23
14
Camarillo, CA
Money rank
93
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
15
Chicago, IL
Money rank
73
Median SAT/ACT score
1210/23
16
Long Beach, CA
Money rank
13
Median SAT/ACT score
1130/23
17
New York, NY
Money rank
2
Median SAT/ACT score
1270/NA
18
Bronx, NY
Money rank
225
Median SAT/ACT score
970/20
19
Jersey City, NJ
Money rank
257
Median SAT/ACT score
1020/20
20
Lancaster, PA
Money rank
166
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
21
San Marcos, CA
Money rank
243
Median SAT/ACT score
1040/21
22
Waltham, MA
Money rank
88
Median SAT/ACT score
1300/29
23
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
142
Median SAT/ACT score
1020/19
24
Riverside, CA
Money rank
12
Median SAT/ACT score
1200/26
25
Worcester, MA
Money rank
148
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
26
Worcester, MA
Money rank
43
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
27
Chico, CA
Money rank
56
Median SAT/ACT score
1080/22
28
San Francisco, CA
Money rank
144
Median SAT/ACT score
1050/21
29
Lake Forest, IL
Money rank
132
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
30
Boston, MA
Money rank
432
Median SAT/ACT score
1180/25
31
Lewiston, ME
Money rank
38
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
32
Santa Barbara, CA
Money rank
30
Median SAT/ACT score
1300/31
33
Costa Mesa, CA
Money rank
478
Median SAT/ACT score
1030/21
34
Riverdale, NY
Money rank
155
Median SAT/ACT score
1150/26
35
Northridge, CA
Money rank
29
Median SAT/ACT score
1020/20
36
New Rochelle, NY
Money rank
204
Median SAT/ACT score
1080/23
37
Seaside, CA
Money rank
63
Median SAT/ACT score
1070/21
38
Irvine, CA
Money rank
1
Median SAT/ACT score
1260/29
39
La Jolla, CA
Money rank
9
Median SAT/ACT score
1310/30
40
Radnor, PA
Money rank
381
Median SAT/ACT score
1080/21
41
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
4
Median SAT/ACT score
1340/32
42
North Andover, MA
Money rank
324
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
43
Boston, MA
Money rank
356
Median SAT/ACT score
1160/25
44
Fresno, CA
Money rank
51
Median SAT/ACT score
1010/19
45
Fullerton, CA
Money rank
22
Median SAT/ACT score
1100/22
46
Philadelphia, PA
Money rank
223
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
47
Minneapolis, MN
Money rank
311
Median SAT/ACT score
1100/22
48
Albany, NY
Money rank
85
Median SAT/ACT score
1170/24
49
Fairfield, CT
Money rank
139
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
50
Geneva, NY
Money rank
157
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/28
51
Lacey, WA
Money rank
246
Median SAT/ACT score
1090/21
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