Our 2018-2019 Best Value designation was awarded to 56 colleges and universities…but we did not, and never will, “rank” them.

With all the media attention to misinformation provided to U.S. News, which resulted in phony and undeserved rankings, we think it might be refreshing to learn that at least one organization refuses to play the ranking game.  In 2013 a group of former college presidents, CEOs, and provosts decided to create a recognition system that bucked the trend where everyone and their brother seems to be playing the ranking game. Now under the banner of WhatsBestforMe’s Best Value Schools, the refreshingly insightful analysis that was developed, results in a limited number of institutions that meet meaningful criteria like cost to attend, and importantly, students’ opinion of a particular school.

Former Andrew Jackson University CEO Joseph Schmoke says he always thought rankings were a fools’ game.  Recent shenanigans by schools, like forging student grades in their reports to U.S. News, proved him right. “We created our Best Value Awards to provide real-world information to prospective college students of all ages,” Schmoke said. One criterium his group uses is the sum of student comments, which must be better than 65% positive for a school to be considered for an award. “You would be surprised how many colleges were disqualified because their students and alumni didn’t have the required percentage of positive comments. “We of course ignored the usual students’ complaints, like ‘Financial aid didn’t get me enough money,’ that we deemed sour grapes.  But we read every comment we could gather,” Schmoke stated.

Examples of institutions that were designated Best Value after rigorous research include American College of Education, Trident University International and Wilmington College, three of the fifty-six awardees for 2018-2019. Details on these interesting institutions as well as the other Best Value Awardees can be found at www.bestvaluecolleges.org, a site that is free for prospective students and also free for the colleges we list.


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An active investor and strategist in the business of higher education, Jay is also a visionary developer of real estate. His “Virtual Adjacency” concept predated the rise of smart devices and foretold the interconnectivity we all enjoy today.

Barry Layne is a pioneering digital management and marketing executive. He was founder and global head of Ketchum Communication’s worldwide digital media businesses; COO of ArtistDirect; Executive Vice President of National Lampoon; Senior Vice President of About, Inc.; and Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of FasTV.com.

After retiring as president of the University of Indianapolis in 2005, his second post as president of a college, Jerry was temporary president of Lambuth University. He continues to provide strategy consulting services to a number of colleges and universities. He wrote The 75 Biggest Myths about College Admissions (Sourcebooks, 2008) debunking many of the misconceptions students and their families hold about selecting and entering college.

Joe conceived the Company’s strategy and is the principal founder. Previously he was chairman and CEO of Andrew Jackson University (AJU), an accredited for-profit degree granting university. While at AJU he cofounded and spun off ProctorU, now the world’s premier online exam proctoring organization. A longtime entrepreneur, Joe started in the investment industry, acquired his first company in 1974, and followed that acquisition by founding multiple online-related companies. He is a published author (Dow Jones- Irwin) and has been designated Distinguished Lecturer by the Graduate School of Business, Florida Atlantic University.