Last week Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley made waves when they decided to formally withdraw from U.S. News & World Report’s college ranking system. Three more high-profile schools have joined them. Stanford, Georgetown, and Columbia have also announced their withdrawal from the list.
These particular schools are all highly ranked on the list with Yale actually taking the top spot.
The schools have all cited various issues that caused them to no longer participate but in general, all of them relate to the publication’s methodology in creating the list. There is a general concern among the institutions that U.S. News & World Report’s tendency to place emphasis on certain aspects and traits of the student body has created an atmosphere where schools operate in the best interest of the list and not of the students.
“By heavily weighting students’ test scores and college grades, the U.S. News rankings have over the years created incentives for law schools to direct more financial aid toward applicants based on their LSAT scores and college GPAs without regard to their financial need.” Said John Manning, Harvard Law Dean. “Though HLS and YLS have each resisted the pull toward so-called merit aid, it has become increasingly prevalent, absorbing scarce resources that could be allocated more directly on the basis of need.”
This comes at a time when high-profile schools are trying to expand access to a broader population of students.
Another concern was the way that the list included metrics around student debt and the public’s perceptions of those metrics.
It is also worth noting that the institutions withdrawing from the publication’s list does not preclude their inclusion. Previously the schools volunteered this data to U.S. News & World Report. The publication says it will still rank these schools but they will be forced to use only publicly available data.