The Ivy Coach Daily

August 16, 2023

Colleges with the Most Grateful Alumni

Colleges With The Most Grateful Alumni
Dartmouth alums tend to love Dartmouth.

Originally Published on August 27, 2019:

From 2013 through 2019, Forbes published a “Grateful Graduates Index,” a proprietary algorithm that sought to measure the satisfaction of a school’s graduates with their alma maters. Since 2019, Forbes has ceased publishing a “Grateful Graduates Index,” a ranking we at Ivy Coach always enjoyed and looked forward to since the methodology behind the algorithm, which was made public, seemed logical.

So what was this ranking all about? As Anna Corradi and Matt Schifrin wrote for Forbes, it was essentially the Marie Condo of college rankings. Yes, you read that correctly — there were just no t-shirts to fold neatly into drawers. The litmus test of this college ranking was the extent to which one’s alma mater “sparked joy” enough to inspire donations. 

The Methodology Behind Forbes’ Grateful Grads College Ranking

Corradi and Schifrin wrote, “We boil down the analysis to a single factor. Does your Alma mater’ spark joy’ in your our proprietary Grateful Graduates Index measures this in two ways: by looking at the seven-year median gifts per full-time enrolled student and the average percentage of alumni who give back, regardless of the amount in which they give. The second measure helps smaller liberal arts colleges like Wellesley College in Massachusetts and Carleton College in Minnesota, whose graduates tend to earn less but whose educations have nonetheless provided invaluable non-monetary returns.”

Dartmouth Topped Most Recent Grateful Grads Ranking

Below is Forbes’ most recent “Grateful Graduates Index.” It’s an index we encourage the publication to revive since it’s been four years since the most recent ranking. And, yes, we know that certain schools with lower GGIs are ranked higher than other schools with lower GGIs. Perhaps the ranking isn’t perfect, or we’re not clear on its methodology after all.

Top 25 Colleges with the Most Grateful Graduates

College/UniversityGrateful Graduates Index Rank2019 Grateful Graduates Index
Dartmouth College#199.81
Williams College#299.77
Princeton University#399.67
Amherst College#499.38
Davidson College#599.05
Claremont McKenna College#698.8
Haverford College#798.68
Wellesley College#897.79
Wabash College#997.78
University of Notre Dame#1097.64
Washington and Lee University#1197.49
Bowdoin College#1297.44
Carleton College#1397.08
Stanford University#1497.33
Duke University#1596.94
Yale University#1696.43
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#1796.38
Harvey Mudd College#1896.15
Brown University#1996.13
University of Pennsylvania#2095.8
University of Chicago#2195.4
Middlebury College#2295.01
Hamilton College#2394.79
California Institute of Technology#2495.04
Pomona College#2594.61

The list features five Ivy League institutions, Stanford University, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, Williams College, and Amherst College, among other highly selective institutions. And, yes, rankings matter to colleges — look how Dartmouth celebrated its trophy!

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