The Limits of College Rankings 'Racket' (Opinion)

Tim Goral's picture
Thursday, February 9, 2012

The annual report of national college rankings published by U.S. News & World Report is, regrettably, one of the most powerful forces in American higher education.

I say "regrettably" because the list of rankings, although comprising data, surveys and statistics, doesn't even begin to express the quality, comprehensiveness and special character of the more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the country.

The report is so powerful that an administrator at Claremont McKenna College, a small, elite liberal arts school in California, submitted inflated data in order to enhance the college's standing.

Is anyone surprised by this revelation? Just as athletes use steroids and gambling happens at Rick's, colleges and universities succumb to their own set of pressures, including the desire to be on top in the rankings.

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