Our Ranking Methodology
The NursePractitionerSchools.com methodology focuses on a specialized, student-focused approach to ensure our readers receive a holistic view of each school. Our rankings aim to effectively and objectively assess a school’s overall merit by considering factors like quality, online flexibility, and return on investment. To help us determine these factors, we pull our data from national databases and incorporate them into a unique formula that we created.
In the sections that follow, readers can explore how we created our formula, focusing on the subfactors we believe are most important to nurse practitioner (NP) students in their search for the right program. We collect and compile data and weigh metrics of relevant factors to derive a holistic assessment of each school.
We recognize that students value different factors when selecting a school, so we provide a broad scope of information to help them make an informed decision. Our rankings remain free of editorial influence and follow a data-driven methodology. These lists are not inclusive of every NP program offered.
About the Data We Use
We use the most current datasets available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as our primary source of information. NCES provides data to indicate how well the U.S. educates students. This organization collects data about education in the country and reports its findings to analyze different programs and schools.
When we use data collected from NCES in our methodology, our quality assurance team assesses all schools included in datasets. Any institutions missing a significant amount of data are excluded from rankings, keeping our calculations as accurate as possible.
Another key data source we use is the average net price and salary data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which reports average student earnings data. This data allows our team to determine the specific value of a degree, reviewing factors like program cost and admissions information.
All of the data we use for our ranking methodology is publicly available. We pulled all of our data in December 2019 to create the most current, relevant rankings.
How We Calculate Our Rankings
Pie chart with 3 slices.View as data table, ChartQualityQualityOnline FlexibilityOnline FlexibilityReturn on InvestmentReturn on InvestmentEnd of interactive chart.
A Look Into Our Ranking Factors
To provide an effective ranking, our team chose the most relevant factors and subfactors for students. This methodology allows degree-seekers to weigh their options accordingly, helping them to ultimately choose the program that best fits their needs and goals. Although there isn’t necessarily a “right” way to measure the quality, affordability, and projected success of a school, our methodology’s holistic approach provides students with the tools to make the most informed choices.
Our team emphasizes subfactors that build upon certain aspects of a program to provide learners with the most relevant resources and information, especially for students in NP programs.
Subfactors for Quality
- Graduation Rate
Schools with high graduation rates may offer better program opportunities than those with lower rates. Students can weigh their potential for success when observing these figures.
- Retention Rate
A program’s retention rate measures the number of students who stay enrolled in their chosen program. Like high graduation rates, higher retention rates can indicate student satisfaction. When retention and graduation rates are both high, learners can infer that the institution offers resources for student success and support services.
- Number of Programs Offered
Schools with many different program opportunities often appeal to students, especially those who want to pursue multiple degree levels.
- Student-to-Faculty Ratio
A school with a low student-to-faculty ratio typically indicates a more individualized learning experience for enrollees. Learners often assume that they will not experience as much one-on-one attention with instructors in higher student-to-faculty ratios. Our methodology includes this information to give learners an idea of the learning environment at each school.
Subfactors for Online Flexibility
Percentage of Students Enrolled Partially or Fully Online
This factor considers how many degree-seekers maintain current enrollment in online or hybrid programs. Higher learning institutions with more students enrolled in online programs can indicate a strong online structure.
Subfactors for ROI
Twenty-Year Net Present Value
NPV measures the value of a specific degree over time. Positive NPV figures indicate that students can pay off the cost of their degree by simply holding the degree and pursuing their specific career path. Higher NPV figures lead to a greater return on investment for learners and helps students to determine the best investments for their future.
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