CAOnlineColleges.com Methodology

School Scoring Methodology

An institution’s score is calculated with seven data points:

  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: smaller ratios are typically indicative of better educational experience
  • Number of Online Programs Offered by an Institution: institutions that offer more online programs typically are more effective at delivering online courses and offering support for online students
  • Graduation Rate: institutions with high graduation rates typically are committed to student success and offer quality degrees.
  • Retention Rate: high retention rates typically indicate overall student satisfaction with an institution.
  • Percentage of Online Students: institutions with a high percentage of online students better deliver effective online programs and online degrees.
  • Concentrated Influence: through our partnership with AcademicInfluence.com we offer this unique and revolutionary ranking metric that allows us to calculate an institution’s academic importance through analysis of how often the institution’s faculty are cited in academic works.
  • Desirability: an institution’s desirability is a measurement of relationship between how many students were offered admission to a school and how many students accepted that institution’s offer.

For each data point, we score schools based on where they fall in the percentile distribution for that data point. Because our scores are based on local data and not tied to irrelevant national data, they accurately reflect an institution’s value to the California student. Institutions with missing data receive a zero for that data point.

We weigh each data point and calculate an institution’s raw score. Then we create an adjusted raw score by combining a school’s score with a base score of 50.

Finally, we score and rank institutions based on their adjusted score’s percentile rank.

Program Scoring Methodology

An institution’s program score is calculated with seven data points:

  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: smaller ratios are typically indicative of better educational experience
  • Ratio of Degrees Awarded in Program Field: institutions that award more degrees in a given field typically are more effective at teaching and instructing in that field.
  • Graduation Rate: institutions with high graduation rates typically are committed to student success and offer quality degrees.
  • Retention Rate: high retention rates typically indicate overall student satisfaction with an institution.
  • Percentage of Online Students: institutions with a high percentage of online students better deliver effective online programs and online degrees.
  • Concentrated Influence: through our partnership with AcademicInfluence.com we offer this unique and revolutionary ranking metric that allows us to calculate an institution’s academic importance through analysis of how often the institution’s faculty are cited in academic works.
  • Desirability: an institution’s desirability is a measurement of relationship between how many students were offered admission to a school and how many students accepted that institution’s offer.

For each data point, we score schools based on where they fall in the percentile distribution for that data point. Because our scores are based on local data and not tied to irrelevant national data, they accurately reflect an the program’s value to the California student. Institutions with missing data receive a zero for that data point.

We weigh each data point and calculate an program’s raw score. Then we create an adjusted raw score by combining the program’s score with a base score of 50.

Finally, we score and rank programs based on their adjusted score’s percentile rank.

Cost Methodology

Each institution falls into a cost bracket. These brackets are determined by the 20th, 40th, 60th, 80th, and 100th tuition percentiles for online colleges in California. These correspond to brackets of:

  • $0 – $8,414
  • $8,415 – $19,949
  • $19,950 – $30,598
  • $30,599 – $38,292
  • $38,293+

Institutions that do not report tuition data do not fall into any bracket.

Value Methodology

To calculate an institution’s value, we first separately rank institutions by score and cost. Then we average an institution’s score rank with its cost rank to determine its overall value.

Sources

Data at CAOnlineColleges.com is gathered from government bodies as well as our partners at AcademicInfluence.com. We may occasionally fill in missing salary information with data from other web sources. Our primary sources include:

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