Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about our College Rankings? Check out our most frequently asked questions below. For more information about BestColleges.com visit our About Us page.
When was BestColleges.com established?
BestColleges.com was initially launched in 2013. As the number of online education opportunities grew, BestColleges.com relaunched in early 2014. That year, we published our first college rankings lists and expanded resource guides for online students, becoming the website you know and love today.
What kind of resources do you provide for students?
We provide many different resources for students at all stages of their educational journey. Whether they are just starting to look for schools, trying to figure out how to pay for college, or looking for career advice, we have something for every student.
A few examples of our resources include:
Is there a charge for any of the resources or services you provide?
All of our rankings and resources on our site are free. If you want to share our resources on your own website, we do ask that you include a link to the original content for attribution purposes.
Are you a 501c nonprofit?
No, BestColleges.com is not a 501c nonprofit.
How often do you update your website's content?
We strive to keep the content of our website as up to date as possible. Rankings are refreshed annually and we regularly review our guides to ensure that they reflect the latest information and best practices.
What makes you experts in higher education?
For the past four years, thousands of students have trusted BestColleges.com to help them on their path to a college degree. We've spent tens of thousands of hours researching higher education programs and the issues affecting students. Additionally, in the previous two years we began our own proprietary research on the state of online education, which you can review in our Annual Trends in Online Educations Reports for Educators and Students. We continue to engage in the dialogue surrounding higher education through editorial content and thought leadership galleries.
Who else has featured your resources?
Our resources have been featured on websites for a variety of organizations and universities. We've been mentioned by Berkeley University, Cornell University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, the City of Seattle, the State of Connecticut, Yahoo Finance, Autism Speaks, USDA.gov, Microsoft, and many other institutions.
What should I do if I want to contribute to BestColleges.com?
Contact our media relations team to learn more.
About Our Rankings
How can your rankings help me find a college?
To learn about how to utilize rankings for your college search, visit our Rankings Guide. The guide provides more information about how to make rankings work for you and what kind of things to avoid when using rankings.
Where does the data for your rankings come from?
We source our data exclusively from the governmental database: The National Center for Education Statistics.
How do you rank your schools?
An overview of our rankings methodologies can be found on our Methodology Page. Specific methodologies are included with each school ranking.
Are for-profit or non-accredited colleges included in your rankings?
No. Only accredited, not-for-profit colleges are eligible for our rankings.
Can I change my school's write up in the ranking?
Yes, in fact we encourage reviewing them! If you are an employee of the university, please contact our Media Relations Team to coordinate any updates. Please note, that the only thing that cannot be updated is the school's listed tuition under the separate school profile page, it is pulled directly from the NCES database.
My school was ranked higher (or lower) on last year's ranking, why did it's position change?
There is an increasing competitiveness to the online education marketplace, and as more colleges add online programs, shifts in rankings tend to occur. The annual data updates in the NCES database can also cause slight changes. We also updated our methodology for 2017 to reflect the growing marketplace and better reflect affordability for price-conscious students.
Can a college pay to be included on your rankings, or sponsor one?
No. Schools cannot buy their way onto our rankings, they are independently ranked.