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US News is removing Columbia U from this year’s rankings amid an investigation


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A quick dive:

  • U.S. News and World Report dropped Columbia University from this year’s top college rankings, saying the Ivy League institution failed to verify data it provided to the publication it uses to build the influential database.
  • Magazine said Thursday that Columbia did not respond to multiple requests to confirm the accuracy of certain data, including student-faculty ratios and class sizes.
  • The US News movement is following Columbia announcing at the end of last month he will not participate in next year’s rankings amid an internal investigation into the data he provided. Earlier this year, a Columbia professor publicly claimed that data in the university’s ranking profile did not match data from other sources.

Dive Insight:

The drama surrounding Columbia’s place in the rankings began in February when math professor Michael Thaddeus posted on his website analysis of information the university provided to US News.

Thaddeus said evidence suggests Columbia misrepresented itself on some of the metrics US News uses to determine the rankings, such as how much it spends on tuition. He compared the data in the Columbia US News ranking with data from financial reports and other sources.

At first, Colombia stuck to its data. However, on the last day of June, she announced that she was dropping out of the 2023 ranking, as she had not yet finished examining Tadevush’s accusations.

US News chief data strategist Robert Morse, who oversees the rankings, first reached out to Columbia in March to confirm the accuracy of the data presented.

But the publication said in a statement Thursday that “Columbia was unable to provide satisfactory answers to the information requested by US News.”

As a result, U.S. News moved Columbia to the 2022 “Unranked” National Universities, 2022 Best Schools, and 2022 Best for Social Mobility lists.

Columbia will remain in other U.S. News rankings, including schools and graduate programs, the publication reported. They used separate data sources that were not questioned.

“If schools do not provide accurate data, US News will review the matter on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate remedial action,” the publication said.

University spokesman Ben Chung said in an emailed statement that Columbia was disappointed by US News’ decision, but “we consider this a matter of good faith and will not make it right.”

Columbia’s removal from the rankings is likely to deal a blow to the university’s reputation and prompt more criticism of the rankings, which have been criticized for being overly weighted by students and families when making college admissions decisions.

The rankings ran into other data accuracy issues, with the University of Southern California dropping out of the Rossier School of Education’s graduate school rankings this year. among the discoveries her dean submitted incorrect data. Also in attendance this year was the former dean of Temple University’s business school sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine after being found guilty of similar data falsification.

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