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Colleges with the 'biggest bang for the buck'

Saturday - 8/31/2013, 7:09pm  ET

A new kind of college ranking

WTOP's Paula Wolfson reports

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WASHINGTON - The usual suspects are absent from these new college rankings.

Washington Monthly released its annual list of colleges with the "best bang for the buck," and the results may be surprising.

Amherst College got the No. 1 rating, with CUNY Queens and Baruch College coming in second and third, respectively. Towson University is the only local school to make the top 100, coming in at number 66.

Washington Monthly Editor Haley Sweetland Edwards tells WTOP that its rankings looked at price of tuition, graduation rates and the percentage of students with Pell Grants.

"Our bang for the buck rating looks at non-wealthy students and whether or not they graduate, whether or not they default on their loans and how big their debts are when they graduate," she said.

The report comes as President Obama proposed a new system for rating universities based on their affordability. The government rating system would serve as a way to determine how much federal aid universities receive.

Harvard, Princeton, Yale and many other ivy-leagues are absent from Washington Monthly's list. Edwards said the rankings aren't about prestige but about schools that deliver great value for their students.

"We really just get completely different listings," she said.

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WTOP's Paula Wolfson contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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