Harvard, MIT, and Williams College Make Forbes’ List of Top Colleges

But watch out for a 'clout-flip' to schools on the West Coast.


MIT was ranked fifth in Forbes’ list of Americas Top Colleges of 2016. / Photo by Margaret Burdge

Don’t sweat that quarter-million you just dropped at Harvard or MIT, everyone who just graduated from Harvard or MIT.

According to Forbes, the brainy masses with diplomas from those schools made a smart choice. Not surprisingly, the Cambridge schools were again near the top this year in the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s Top Colleges. Harvard came in fourth, MIT fifth.

Also on the list was a lineup of other Massachusetts colleges: Williams College came in second, Amherst College secured the number 12 spot, Tufts came in 18th and Boston College 22nd.

Twenty-seven schools from the Commonwealth got the nod in Forbeslist of 660 Top Colleges.

Rankings are based on how satisfied alums are with their degrees, how much debt they have, whether they graduate on time, and whether they are likely to go on to become leaders.

Forbes ranked Stanford University number one. Last year, it was third.

The Northeast in general is still an educational powerhouse, but we shouldn’t get too comfortable with that reputation, the data wizards at Forbes say. The magazine identifies an “emerging clout-flip from the Northeast Establishment to new guard West Coast schools,” which are getting more attention these days amid the world’s obsession with Silicon Valley, a magnet for aspiring tech moguls.

But, let’s be real, how can you put a price tag on a pedigree like this.