Faulty Admissions Data Blots College Rankings

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Tulane University in New Orleans and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania recently self-reported submitting incorrect data to U.S. News & World Report for its annual "Best Colleges" issue.

The Washington Post reports that this December Tulane noticed its admissions figures were much lower than previous years. The school investigated and found that the earlier data had been falsified. Tulane Provost Michael A. Bernstein admitted that the change in data, likely made by a former employee, "...was not inadvertent. It was a goal-oriented manipulation."

The schools join Claremont McKenna College in California, Emory University in Atlanta, and George Washington University in DC in admitting to sending fraudulent data within the past year. GWU was removed from the rankings altogether for its indiscretion.

U.S. News uses metrics like graduation rates (20% of total score), alumni giving (5%), and student selectivity (15%) to rank schools across the country. Critics point out that the weights given to categories are arbitrary and that schools who refuse to participate have data extrapolated or substituted from other sources.

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