Queens and Baruch colleges, both part of the City University system, ranked second and third place, respectively, for their ability to offer students quality education at fair prices — beat only by Amherst College, which took first place, according to the magazine's annual ranking.
The category offers a “list of the colleges in America that do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices,” Washington Monthly explained on its website.
"Our No. 3 ranking in Washington Monthly's 'Best Bang for the Buck' reinforces that Baruch College has the right equation for building social mobility for our students through a quality education that is affordable," Mitchel B. Wallerstein, president of Baruch College, said in a statement.
To qualify for the list, the schools had to offer at least 20 percent of their students Pell Grants, which are awarded to students from low-income families.
Schools also had to have graduate rates of at least 50 percent, and that rate had to meet or exceed the rate that would statistically be predicted for the school, given the number of low-income students admitted.
Lastly, schools had to have a student loan default rate of 10 percent or less.
Only 349 of the country's colleges and universities made the cut under that criteria, said Washington Monthly.
Baruch College offers Pell Grants to 51 percent of its students, boasts a 63 percent graduation rate and has a default rate of 3 percent. The "net price" of attending Baruch — which Washington Monthly calculated as the average tuition for full-time students from families making $75,000 or less per year, minus the need-based aid they receive — is $3,429.
Ranked second, ahead of Baruch, Queens College offers Pell Grants to 45 percent of its students, has a graduation rate of 53 percent and a default rate of 5 percent. The net price of attending Queens College is $2,757, the magazine said.
Amherst made the top of the list with a net price of $843 and a 96 percent graduation rate.
Washington Monthly is a monthly magazine based in Washington, D.C. Aside from covering political news, it produces an annual college guide with rankings.
For the full list of rankings, visit www.washingtonmonthly.com.