updated 7/27/2013 10:17:12 PM ET 2013-07-28T02:17:12

Pomona College finished second place in the Forbes ranking this year.

Forbes Magazine will unveil its annual list of the nation’s top 300 colleges in its Aug. 12 issue, including schools like Stanford University, Princeton University and surprisingly in second place, Pomona College.

Forbes Executive Editor Michael Noer told MSNBC’s Alex Witt on Saturday that the rankings list is measured by educational outcomes, not reputation.

“We look at how well [students] rate their experience like teacher evaluation, graduates in four years and low levels of debt… Regional powerhouses like Pamona do very well on our list,” he says.

It’s very difficult for incoming students to get into these top colleges, but schools also face stiff competition. Some even resort to lying, Noer said. Bucknell University, Emory University, Iona College and Claremont McKenna College are the four that have been taken off the Forbes list for two years for lying about the quality of their student body to the federal government. “A small move in rankings could mean quality and quantity in applicants,” Noer explains as to why these higher educational institutions are tempted to lie.

The magazine editor suggests that today’s brand-name society should broaden its tunnel vision outlook on higher education and look more into institutions like Pamona College. “You don’t have to go to Harvard, you don’t have to go to Yale. You can get an amazing education, maybe for less money elsewhere.”

Video: Competition to get into top colleges still tough

  1. Closed captioning of: Competition to get into top colleges still tough

    >>> if more their college experience ranks as the best years of their lives but given the competition to get into a good college it's a pretty tough road getting there. the august 12th issue of forbes magazine has the to colleges. joining me now forbes executive michael knorr. a lot of people will have big opinions.

    >> these four ivey league colleges but pamona.

    >> we don't take into account rememberation. liberal arts colleges typically regional power houses like panoma tend to do well on our list.

    >> we talked about the competitive nature of getting in. you report that some have taken to lying about their accreditation for this. what happened there?

    >> they're not lying about their accreditation. they're lying about the quality of their incoming student body in terms of inflating s.a.t. scores. they're doing that to move up the rankings. a small move in the rankings can mean a lot in the quality and quantity of alumni giving. we took emory university off. we're taking them off for two dwree years. they lied to the federal government and in many cases for many years.

    >> for those who argue, college is so expensive is it worth it to get a college education these days when you figure are there the jobs out through to helplessen the debt they have incured from student loans ? what are your thoughts?

    >> i think if you're going to go to one of the top 100 schools it's worth it.

    >> you'll get your money back?

    >> you'll get your money back. we tend to like to think these things is about more than getting a good job and getting an education and being well rounded. we did a poll on whether it's worth to go to college. they said overwhelmingly 90% plus yes.

    >> how about your chance of getting into an ivey league school. how tough is that?

    >> it's extremely competitive.

    >> can you give a percentage?

    >> i don't have those numbers in front of me. it's less than 6 perce% yield. it's hard to get it. the brand name schools has gone up incredibly because we're a brand name society. people should look at places like panoma who is offering better educations. not in that case but cheaper. it's not cheap but there are a lot of surprises in the top 100 and top 150. people would be wise to broaden. you don't have to go to harvard or yale. you can get an amazing education for less.

    >> there's a tool they can logon and find way to


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