Over the past couple of weeks, many top law schools announced their formal withdrawal from the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of colleges and universities. The dominoes started with Harvard and Yale with Columbia, Georgetown, and California Berkeley coming soon after. Now Stanford and Michigan have decided to follow suit.
University of Michigan Law Dean, Mark West echoed a lot of the previous concerns that other law deans cited upon their exit from the rankings, but also pointed to the cloudiness of the algorithm used by the ranking:
“The opacity of the algorithm, to both law schools and consumers, also concerns me. Changes to the formula often are announced after the fact, or simply never explained at all. What we do know about the algorithm is that much of it is unrelated to the needs of future students, which of course are heterogeneous. Moreover, U.S. News neither vets nor authenticates the data. This situation presents, at best, inequitable presentation of data and at worst, an unregulated opportunity for manipulation.”
Withdrawing from the rankings does not mean that the schools will no longer be ranked necessarily, it just means that U.S. News will be forced to use only publicly available data as opposed to being provided the data by the institutions themselves.
Not all high-profile schools are withdrawing from the rankings. Both Cornell Law School and the University of Chicago Law School will still submit their information to the list.