New Hampshire’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

New Hampshire’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

What are the best colleges and universities in New Hampshire if you reward schools for making the best use of their limited resources? Academic Stewardship asks how effectively schools manage their financial and human resources to gain the influence that makes them academically excellent. Schools that are exemplary in Academic Stewardship are doing everything in their power to help students and faculty achieve their full potential.

Colleges and universities in New Hampshire deserve to be recognized when they do more with less. It’s impressive when a large wealthy school can spend money lavishly on expensive buildings and programs. But it’s even more impressive when a small school with limited means is able to train and inspire students that the larger wealthier schools tend to ignore.

The American Association of Colleges and Universities reported in late 2021 that almost 75 percent of higher-education professionals at US colleges and universities felt financial constraints prevented their schools from effectively attracting students. Distracted by the size and amenities of larger schools, prospective students tended especially to be overawed by the big research universities.

New Hampshire’s smaller colleges, especially its liberal arts colleges, need effective ways of communicating their value to a world that celebrates “bigger is better” and “you need the best.” Unfortunately, most college ranking companies, such as U.S. News & World Report, define “best” in a way that devalues schools with smaller budgets and fewer students even when these schools do remarkable work in advancing their students’ education. By and large, college rankings penalize schools that serve underserved populations.

Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell, who for years now has criticized conventional college rankings for misrepresenting what’s good and valuable in education, we decided to construct a new ranking metric that highlights those schools that do more with less. That metric—called the Academic Stewardship metric—takes away both the size and the wealth advantage of schools, and focuses instead on how well schools use the resources available to them to advance the education of their students.

How We Measure the Academic Stewardship of New Hampshire’s Colleges and Universities

New Hampshire's Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship
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As a metric, Academic Stewardship is defined by a precise mathematical formula, which can be found in our Academic Stewardship white paper. Measuring the Academic Stewardship of New Hampshire’s colleges requires measuring two forms of stewardship: 1) Stewardship of financial resources (using the money they have responsibility without waste) and 2) Stewardship of human resources (doing their best to help students, faculty, and administration to flourish). Together, these two types of stewardship form what we call  Academic Stewardship. If you want to learn more about the factors involved in Academic Stewardship, click the more button below.

  1. Stewardship of financial resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of financial resources, we factored in its undergraduate size, budget, endowments and reserves, as well as tuition and fees. All these data are available from the National Center for Educational Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. In addition, we factored in a school’s financial responsibility as gauged by the Federal Student Aid Office at the US Department of Education through its financial responsibility composite scores.
  2. Stewardship of human resources: To determine a school’s stewardship of human resources, we used our InfluenceRanking engine to track the influence of the school’s faculty and alumni but also to control for size of the undergraduate student body. We’ve found that measuring a school’s influence based on the contributions of faculty and alumni make in their fields of study but then also controlling for size of the undergraduate population is the single best indicator of academic excellence. We call this Concentrated Influence. Schools that rank highly in Concentrated Influence are schools that, given their available human resources, invest heavily in their students and faculty, and the results are demonstrable.
    • We measure the influence of colleges and universities based on the publications and citations of the schools’ faculty and alumni who are teaching in and working in areas related to their degrees. To do this, we take publicly available databases, such as Semantic Scholar, Crossref, and Wikipedia and use these to measure the influence of academics in their disciplines. Having measured the influence of persons, we then identify the schools that they’re affiliated with, adding up the influence scores of the faculty and alumni to measure the influence of the schools and their disciplinary programs. Finally, we control these influence scores by size of undergraduate student body so that schools do not score high in influence simply because of a size advantage. We lay out these methodological considerations on our methodology page.
  3. Academic Stewardship: Having measured a school’s stewardship of financial and human resources in the two previous points, we now divide the second measure by the first to define the Academic Stewardship metric. This metric spotlights smaller schools, with fewer financial resources and people, that invest wisely and do proportionately better in building influence than large wealthy schools. Many of these smaller, less wealthy schools are incentivized to make better use of their resources but would never get recognized in conventional school rankings, which directly or indirectly put a premium on the wealth of schools.

Academic Stewardship as so defined is connected to keeping tuition and other costs down, but it should not be confused with affordability or frugality. The schools that this metric ranks as exemplary academic stewards tend to be all over the map when it comes to tuition and other costs. At issue is the influence of schools given the financial and human resources they have on hand. If a school is going to charge more for tuition, then that needs to be reflected in the school having proportionately greater influence.

Why Academic Stewardship Matters to Students and Their Families

The benefits of attending a school with strong academic stewardship include:

  • A clear reason for why students are at the school in the first place. Without the distraction of amenities and luxuries, these schools are at once unpretentious but also passionately committed to their educational mission. The schools in this ranking are financially efficient and academically rigorous. By avoiding frills, these schools take the most direct path to accomplishing their mission of educating students.
  • Valuing character over prestige and self-indulgence. A school that’s a good steward of its resources doesn’t instill shame in its students over what they are missing (such as elite cuisine) but rather pride in what they have and making the most of it. These schools exhibit a culture of good stewardship, which tends to build good character in the students that attend these schools.
  • Avoiding the spoiled-student syndrome. It’s easy to think that offering students endless options and opportunities will enrich their time at school in every way. But spoiling people—whether in business, sports, or academics—has the opposite effect, causing people to take their advantages for granted and in the end achieving less than they might otherwise, a point well-documented in Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code. Schools exhibiting academic stewardship avoid this pitfall.
  • The best schools vs. the schools that help students to be their best. Students at schools demonstrating outstanding academic stewardship aren’t so much concerned about being at the “best” school, whatever that may mean, as about being at a school that helps them to be their best. These schools pay attention to their students, hoping that any glory goes to them rather than to the school. Small schools, and especially liberal arts colleges, help themselves by communicating this advantage to prospective students.
  • Emphasizing development over talent and achievement. Schools like Harvard and Stanford have their pick of academic talent, and their students have a long record of achievement even before they apply to such elite schools. But if a school doesn’t have the resources of a Harvard or Stanford, how does it build a great team of students? In that case, it must focus on student development. Colleges exemplifying academic stewardship emphasize student growth and development, ensuring that the schools are doing everything in their power to help students reach their full potential and thereby become their best selves.
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New Hampshire’s Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship

  1. #1

    Saint Anselm College

    Manchester , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

    What is Saint Anselm College known for?

    Saint Anselm College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Earth Sciences
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Keene State College

    Keene , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Keene State College known for?

    Keene State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Dartmouth College

    Hanover , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1500/33

    What is Dartmouth College known for?

    Dartmouth College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is University of New Hampshire known for?

    University of New Hampshire’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    84K

    What is Southern New Hampshire University known for?

    Southern New Hampshire University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Granite State College

    Concord , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    15%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Granite State College known for?

    Granite State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Psychology
  7. #8

    Plymouth State University

    Plymouth , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Plymouth State University known for?

    Plymouth State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is University of New Hampshire at Manchester known for?

    University of New Hampshire at Manchester’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    Rivier University

    Nashua , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Rivier University known for?

    Rivier University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    New England College

    Henniker , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    4K

    What is New England College known for?

    New England College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Franklin Pierce University

    Rindge , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Franklin Pierce University known for?

    Franklin Pierce University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Colby–Sawyer College

    New London , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Colby–Sawyer College known for?

    Colby–Sawyer College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History
    • Education
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

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New Hampshire’s Best Colleges in Your Area of Interest

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Colleges and Universities in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is also home to 21 public and private higher learning institutions, including the Ivy League school Dartmouth. Dartmouth has a 97% graduation rate, a student population of about 6,000, and a tuition rate of $55,000. Students can major in fields like English, creative writing, engineering, physics, and neuroscience. Dinesh D’Souza, Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) are all noteworthy alumni of this school. The largest public institution, the University of New Hampshire, has its main campus in Durham.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

With a student body of almost 16,000, and a tuition rate of $18,000, UNH offers degrees in areas such as economics, biology, and social work. Those looking to earn an associate degree in fields such as early childhood education, cybersecurity networking, or aviation technology can choose from five community colleges that have tuition rates of $8,000. New Hampshire also offers three religiously affiliated colleges, ranging from $22,000 to $41,000 in tuition. Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States. With its open enrollment policy, over 138,000 students attend classes both online and in person.

If maple sundaes and cider donuts sound appetizing to you, New Hampshire may be a great destination for your higher education. Take the Mount Washington Cog Railway for a scenic ride up to the 6,288-foot summit, or check out Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, the state’s first settlement.

Whether you’re looking to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, New Hampshire has a variety of institutions to choose from. Check out the program that best fits you.


What are New Hampshire’s Colleges & Universities?

New Hampshire’s Best Overall