Washington Monthly has now published their new College Rankings for 2009. This magazine uses very different criteria than that used by US News for their rankings.
Washington Monthly uses three general criteria: Social Mobility, Research and Service. Social Mobility consists of the percentage of students who are receiving Pell Grants and the predicted and actual graduation rates. Research measures each colleges research expenditures and their bachelors to PhD rank. Finally, Service measures the percentage of students the college sends to the peace corp or ROTC and the federal work study funds that are spent on service related employment.
The rankings separate national university rankings and liberal arts colleges but the general criteria used is similar in both rankings.
It is interesting to note that there is a lot of overlap between the Washington Monthly and US News rankings for the liberal arts colleges. However, for the national universities the two rankings provide very different results.
As I always mention when talking about college rankings, it is impossible to really distinguish colleges with numerical rankings. However, if you want to get a general feel for how a colleges does using the criteria that Washington Monthly finds important, review the rankings.