Indiana State University Newsroom

Forbes, Princeton Review again list Indiana State among top colleges

August 6, 2014

Two national publications have once again recognized Indiana State University for quality and value.

For the fourth straight year, Forbes magazine has included Indiana State on its annual list of America's Top Colleges while the university has made the Princeton Review's list of Best Midwestern Colleges for the 11th straight year.

Only about 20 percent of the nation's accredited colleges and universities make the Forbes list, which emphasizes the return students and parents receive from their investment in a college degree, while the Princeton Review bases its list largely on student surveys.

"We are pleased to be recognized by both Forbes and the Princeton Review," said Dan Bradley, Indiana State University president. "Our faculty and staff work hard to deliver a quality education while maintaining affordability. Being selected for inclusion on these lists is independent verification that these efforts are paying off for our students, their families and the state of Indiana."

In producing its list of the nation's top colleges, Forbes partners with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) for America's Top Colleges. The publication says its list of 650 schools distinguishes itself from competitors by emphasizing output over input.

"We're not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like," Forbes states. "Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?"

This year, Forbes' list is based on four primary criteria: post-graduate success, followed by the amount of student debt upon graduation, student satisfaction and graduation rates.

"Of the top two schools on Forbes list, seven are highly selective private New England schools," said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications. "Even two-thirds of the 18 Indiana schools named by Forbes on the list are private, so being a public among the privates is gratifying. While being highly selective isn't our mission at ISU, the fact we are affordable and two-thirds of our graduates are fully employed six months after graduation helped us to be included this year among Forbes top 20 percent of all four-year schools in the country."The university has recently beefed up its efforts to better prepare students for work, thanks to a $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment.

"Thanks to the Lilly grant, we have hired additional employer relations coordinators to build stronger bridges between our students and employers," Beacon said. "The grant is also helping better inform students about the importance of developing networks, professional skills and credentials earlier in their college careers, to better prepare them for job searches as seniors."

In including Indiana State on its list of 159 Best Midwestern Colleges - a 12-state region stretching from the Dakotas to Ohio - the Princeton Review says students it surveyed responded that ISU professors "really care."

Many students chose Indiana State because of its affordability, according to the test preparation and college admission services company, but they find more to love once they arrive, including the way the university fosters "substantive knowledge and practical experience" in its students' education, or its "emphasis on academics and school pride."

Within students' concentrations, the "major-specific professors are wonderful" and students find that "professors don't just lecture, they provide students with hands-on opportunities" and "individualized personal instruction."

To be selected by Princeton Review, colleges and universities must first pass muster for academic excellence, based on data collected in administrator surveys and opinions of staff and counselor advisors. Only then are students surveyed using a secure online system.

"We greatly value what students report to us about their experiences at their colleges, just as you would take into account comments you learn from students on a campus visit," said Rob Franek, who oversees the company's guidebook publishing program. "Only schools that permit us to survey their students are eligible for consideration for our regional "best" designations."

Princeton Review has also recognized Indiana State among the nation's "most green" colleges for the past two years and has included the MBA program in the Scott College of Business among the nation's best for the ninth straight year.

Photo: - Indiana State University students discuss potential internships with prospective employers during a campus career fair Feb. 20, 2014. Success after college is a major factor in Indiana State being named to Forbes magazine's list of America's Top College. A $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment is helping the university better prepare students for the workforce and includes initiatives aimed at expanding internship opportunities.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or