The Niche Standout Colleges Methodology
The Niche Standout Colleges ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The list is limited to only colleges with 1) at least 40% of students receiving Pell Grants and 2) a Niche Overall Grade of B or higher. Learn where our data comes from.
|Academics Grade||Niche Academics grade, which incorporates factors such as acceptance rate, quality of professors, as well as student and alumni surveys regarding academics at the school.||Niche||30.0%|
|Value Grade||Niche Value grade, which incorporates statistics such as average loan amount, alumni earnings and student surveys regarding value.||Niche||20.0%|
|Pell Percentage||Percent of full-time undergraduates awarded Pell grants.||U.S. Dept. of Education||10.0%|
|Professors Grade||Niche Professors grade, which incorporates factors such as number of awards won by faculty, student-faculty ratio, as well as student surveys regarding professor quality.||Niche||10.0%|
|Student Life Grade||Niche Student Life grade, which incorporates statistics such as safety, diversity, athletics and student surveys regarding student life.||Niche||7.5%|
|Student Surveys on Overall Experience||Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the overall experience of students and alumni at each school.||Self-reported by Niche users||7.5%|
|Campus Grade||Niche Campus Quality grade, which incorporates factors such as quality of campus food and housing, as well as student surveys regarding facilities on campus.||Niche||5.0%|
|Diversity Grade||Niche Diversity grade, which incorporates factors such as ethnic composition of the student body, proportion of international students and out-of-state students, as well as student surveys regarding diversity on campus.||Niche||5.0%|
|Local Area Grade||Niche Local Area grade, which incorporates factors such as median rent, local crime rates, access to amenities, as well as student surveys regarding the local area around campus.||Niche||2.5%|
|Safety Grade||Safety grade, which incorporates factors such as campus crime rate, local crime rate, as well as student surveys regarding health and safety services on campus.||Niche||2.5%|
Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2015–2017, as self-reported by the colleges. Niche also collects data directly from schools via our school data update form. If you work for a school and would like to update your data, please claim your school.
For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.