LEWISTON, Idaho – The Economist released its first-ever college rankings last week, focusing exclusively on economic value, and Lewis-Clark State College was listed second among four-year, non-vocational schools in Idaho.
Utilizing an approach much different than other college ranking systems, The Economist analyzed the expected earnings of a graduate compared with their actual median earnings. The colleges with the largest positive gap were ranked higher.
LCSC came in at the 50th percentile overall out of 1,275 schools nationally, leading many marquee universities, and was No. 2 in the Gem State thanks to its graduate earning levels being very close to expected earnings.
“The measurements of the value and success of post-secondary institutions are at times very complex. The Economist used a more analytical approach than many of the often used standard measures,” LCSC President J. Anthony Fernandez said. “This ranking again confirms the value of an education from LCSC.”
The Economist defined economic value as the gap between how much money its graduates earn and how much they might have made had they studied elsewhere. To determine this difference, it pulled data from the U.S. Department of Education's “scorecard” website. It found that certain factors correlate with high earnings, like SAT scores. High scorers earn high salaries, no matter where they go. Location is also important, as urban schools tend to have graduates who make more money. If a school has high numbers of engineers or business majors, earnings also go up.
The Economist created a model to combine all of these factors and determine what alumni should theoretically make after graduating from a specific college. Topping the list was Washington and Lee University, a small, elite private school in Virginia. In Idaho, only the University of Idaho was listed ahead of LCSC.
The ranking continues a trend of good news for Lewis-Clark State, ranked this year as the fifth best public baccalaureate institution in the West by U.S. News and World Report. Offering the lowest tuition among four-year public institutions in Idaho, LCSC set records for both graduates and degrees awarded in the spring and announced an uptick in headcount, including an 8.8 percent increase in new entering students, this fall.