The Program

Misreported Data to U.S. News College Rankings

By A.J. Peters

Another couple of schools admit to having inflated data for a better standing in the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings, says The Washington Post. And we thought the problem of academic honesty was with students! Just another reason we can be happy about going to a school that doesn’t participate in rankings. Not only do they encourage high school students to think that college can be reduced to a quantifiable measure, that fit is not important, but schools (or certain faculty members) have started to become so blinded by rankings they are willing to fudge the numbers.


At a time of intense competition for high-achieving students, the episodes have renewed debate about the validity of the U.S. News rankings, which for three decades have served as a kind of bible for parents and students shopping for colleges.

Much of the information colleges present about themselves to U.S. News, other analysts and the federal government is not independently verified. That makes it impossible to know how many might have misreported data over the years as they angle for prestige to stand out in a crowded market.

“Rankings have become omnipresent in higher education, and they have enhanced the competition among institutions,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents. “And in any highly competitive environment, there is always a temptation to cut corners.” Source:

The most unbelievable, and perhaps saddest part of this article is the response from Brian Kelly, U.S. News Editor:

“These are institutions that teach ethics,” Kelly said. “If they can’t keep their own house in order, they’ve got a problem. It’s their problem, not my problem.”

No, Mr. Kelly, it’s a problem for all of us.


The student writing staff of the johnnie chair blog

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