Columbia University drops from No. 2 to No. 18 in US News rankings after admitting mistake

Columbia University, whose alumni include founding father Alexander Hamilton and former President Barack Obama, fell to 18th in US News & World Report’s annual college rankings after admitting he had submitted inaccurate data in previous years.

The Ivy League institution had ranked No. 2 in the annual list in 2021, prompting one of its own professors to question the accuracy of the information the school had provided to US News & World Report for its annual analysis, which was published In Monday.

The magazine’s annual rankings offer much more than bragging rights to top universities, as the rankings are used as recruiting tools to convince high school students to apply to highly selective colleges. For its part, US News & World Report said on Sunday Publish that it “counts on schools to report their data accurately,” which includes information on issues ranging from graduation rates to the share of faculty with terminal degrees, which indicates the highest degree available in fields specific.

The math teacher asked questions

The accuracy of this last data point was one of the issues raised by Columbia math professor Michael Thaddeus in a blog post earlier this year. Thaddeus noted that he had seen Columbia climb to “the lofty position of 2nd place”, prompting him to wonder how the university’s status had achieved an ascent from its perch at No. 18 in 1988.

Thaddeus dug into the numbers and concluded that “several of the key numbers supporting Columbia’s high ranking are inaccurate, questionable, or grossly misleading.” For example, he noted that Columbia reported that 100% of its full-time faculty held either a doctorate. or a terminal degree, but he pointed out that 66 of nearly 1,000 faculty members had a bachelor’s or master’s degree as their highest degree.

In a statement On Friday, Columbia provost Mary Boyce said her new analysis found that 95.3% of its full-time faculty hold terminal degrees. It also found inaccuracies in its past class size data, a problem since colleges with smaller class sizes are ranked more favorably. About 60% of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students, rather than the roughly 80% reported by US News & World Report.

“[A]Anything less than complete accuracy in the data we report – regardless of size or reason – does not meet the standards of excellence that Columbia stands by,” Boyce said in the statement. “We regret deeply the shortcomings of our previous reports. and commit to doing better.”

Earlier this year, Columbia said it would not submit data to US News & World Report for the current ranking when reviewing its data. In a statement Monday to CBS MoneyWatch, the magazine said it ranked Columbia based on “data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Peer Review Survey data conducted by US News, College Scorecard and competitive set values ​​assigned for data where no third-party data exists.”

Below is the ranking of the top 20 national universities and their annual tuition fees, as reported by US News & World Report on Monday:

1. Princeton University: $57,410
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $57,986
3. Harvard University: $57,261
3. Stanford University: $56,169
3. Yale University: $62,250
6. University of Chicago: $62,940
7. Johns Hopkins University: $60,480
7. University of Pennsylvania: $63,452
9. California Institute of Technology: $60,864
10. Duke University: $63,054
10. Northwestern University: $63,468
12. Dartmouth College: $62,430
13. Brown University: $65,146
13. Vanderbilt University: $60,348
15. Rice University: $54,960
15. Washington University in St. Louis: $60,590
17. Cornell University: $63,200
18. Columbia University: $65,524
18. Notre Dame University: $60,301
20. University of California, Berkeley: $43,980 (out-of-state) or $14,226 (in-state)
20. University of California, Los Angeles: $44,830 (out-of-state) or $13,804 (in-state)

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