The Manipulation of College Rankings

If an admissions officer should ever tell you that their institution does not care about its US News & World Report ranking, know you’ve been told a lie.

Last year, we reported the juicy story that Temple University got caught with its hand in the cookie jar misreporting data to US News & World Report. And why? The school was manipulating its ranking. Yes, while colleges like to be quite vocal about how they don’t care a lick about where they land in the all-important US News & World Report ranking, if the submission of false data by a Temple University official to the publication isn’t evidence enough that these schools care oh so much about their standing in said ranking, we don’t know how else to show you the light. And, in breaking college admissions news, the former dean of the Fox Business School at Temple University has now been convicted by a jury of his peers for wire fraud related to his misreporting of this data to the widely-circulated publication.

As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Ex-Dean at Temple Convicted,” “Moshe Porat, former dean of the Fox Business School at Temple University, was convicted Monday of wire fraud for submitting false data to U.S. News & World Report for rankings. What Porat really did, according to the Justice Department, was ‘conspired and schemed to deceive the school’s applicants, students, and donors into believing that the school offered top-ranked business degree programs, so that they would pay tuition and make donations to Temple.’ The jury took less than an hour to convict Porat, who was dean of the business school from 1996 until 2018…The indictment marked the latest escalation of what initially appeared to be a discrepancy in the rankings in U.S. News & World Report of the university’s online M.B.A. program. It was later determined that Temple had actually intentionally provided incorrect data about the percentage of its students who had submitted test scores for the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT. Temple’s online M.B.A. program was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News for four years in a row, starting in 2015. But that ranking was based on false information that all of Temple’s online students had taken the GMAT. In fact, only 20 percent had done so.”

Do you think admissions leaders at America’s universities care about where their institutions land in the US News & World Report annual ranking? Or do you take them at their word when they insist they really don’t care? You, of course, know where we stand. Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

 
 

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