- U.S. News & World Report has reworked the methodology it uses to determine its influential undergraduate rankings, newly emphasizing colleges’ success in graduating students from different backgrounds and removing metrics like alumni giving.
- The publication also will no longer rank undergraduate colleges by their class sizes, by how many students in the top of their high school class they enroll, and by how many of their faculty members have terminal degrees, it announced Friday.
- U.S. News will still include these factors on online profiles it maintains of the colleges it ranks.
Turmoil around U.S. News’ rankings began late last year when contingents of law, and then medical schools, announced they would no longer cooperate by giving data to the publication.
Their reasons for rejecting the rankings varied, but many cited concerns that U.S. News’ system did not reflect their institutions' educational accomplishments and that it hurt colleges focused on improving social mobility.
Most of the upheaval occurred with law and medical schools, though a few colleges have said they would not participate in the undergraduate rankings, which is U.S. News’ most prominent product.
Now, the publication has changed its methodology for determining undergraduate rankings ahead of their next release — likely in response to some of the criticism. Those rankings typically come out in September.
“Helping students find the school that is right for them is the core of everything we do in our education vertical,” Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, said in a statement.
“With college costs soaring, we want to ensure the educational resources we provide emphasize the outcomes for graduates of the schools in our rankings," Gertler said. "This, in conjunction with the other outcomes-focused measures we are adopting, will further support a student’s decision-making process when they are making one of the most important decisions of their lives.”