The Washington Monthly makes a case for why its own college ranking system matters:

“The *Washington Monthly *rankings are based on three factors. The first is social mobility, which gives colleges credit for enrolling many low-income students and helping them earn degrees. The second recognizes research production, particularly at schools whose undergraduates go on to earn PhDs. Third, we value a commitment to service. The more expensive college becomes, the more students are encouraged to see higher education as a mere return on investment. The students in our best colleges are taught by example and design to look beyond themselves and give back.”

Irrespective of the overall scope and objectives of the ranking methods, both prospective graduate students and advanced degree programs alike should find some utility, particularly in the Research categories of the rankings.