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College students read in the library.

Money magazine took a new look at college ranking and assessed the monetary value of a diploma as the indicator of the best university.

Using a calculation equally balancing quality, affordability and return on investment, Money magazine found Babson College in the No. 1 slot. Harvard, which usually graces the top spot on U.S. News and World Report’s famed list, didn’t even make the top five. Princeton University, Harvard’s biggest rival for No. 1, ranked fourth on the Money list.

Money’s list is creating buzz in the student debt-frenzied media climate. After the Obama administration’s promise to look at the rising costs of higher education, Money’s ranking is proving tough competition for U.S. News and World Report.

"What makes the list competitive," Angela Davies told The Boston Globe, "is that it doesn't just look at the quality of education, it looks at how likely alumni are to get hired and how quickly they typically take to earn back their tuition."

“The mark of a good new college rankings system — or, at least, an interesting one — is a deft combination of familiarity and surprise,” The New York Times’ Kevin Carey wrote. “Publish a list of nothing but unknown colleges and you lose credibility. Simply replicate the U.S. News hierarchy and you haven’t done anything worthy of attention.”

The top 10 is reminiscent of traditional lists in that you’ll see Princeton, Stanford and MIT, but it also includes surprises and some unheard of universities like Mudd College, Babson College and Webb Institute.

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