George Mason University was named one of Money magazine’s Best Colleges in America 2023 with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating.
This year, Money unveiled a new system, moving from rankings to ratings with a five-star metric. Colleges are now rated between 2.5 to 5 stars in .5 increments. Previously, the magazine utilized a standard numbered ranking system to organize its top colleges, similar other organizations such as U.S. News.
Despite the change, Money’s rating system still prioritizes affordability, including factors such as tuition costs and debt incurred; quality of education, such as graduation rates and test scores; and outcomes, such as alumni salaries and employment status. Because cost is often a prohibiting factor for many prospective students, this methodology is designed to help families make informed decisions on where students will get the most value for their tuition dollars.
“It is gratifying to be recognized and we are proud of the high-quality education students receive at Mason with a very affordable cost of tuition,” Provost Mark Ginsberg said. “Our students learn from a world-class faculty while also being afforded many inspiring opportunities to participate in impactful research, engage with the surrounding communities, and become involved with initiatives that ensure that they are career-ready as they conclude their studies.”
Money explains their switch from ranking to rating as a way to encourage students and parents to focus less on where an institution places in comparison to its peers, and instead focus on the broader picture of a college’s quality and value. According to their methodology explanation, “the new rating system can help families with their college search by highlighting the variety (and diversity) of high-value colleges in the U.S. We hope the ratings show that, depending on your individual characteristics, priorities and goals, there may be multiple top colleges to consider.”
Among peer institutions as determined by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), Mason was above the average of 4.18.
Among Virginia public institutions, Mason was one of the highest rated: Virginia Tech, James Madison University, William and Mary, and Virginia Military Institute all came in at 4.5 stars as well. Among these, Mason maintains the highest admissions acceptance rate.