New Study Quantifies Impact Of Ratings

Career College Central summary:

  • Being named a top party school by the Princeton Review could cost a university an 8 to 9 percent decline in the percentage of out-of-state students who enroll. That’s among the conclusions of a new study that measures the impact on higher education of controversial annual college rankings.
  • Being named one of the 25 best colleges by U.S. News & World Report gets an institution 6 to 10 percent more applications than it would otherwise receive, the research, published in the journal of the American Educational Research Association, shows. Making the top 20 for academic quality in the Princeton Review pushes up the number of applications by 2.3 percent.
  • The findings are the most specific since a 2011 study at the Harvard Business School reported that rising by just one number in the U.S. News & World Report rankings leads to a nearly 1 percent increase in applications to a university or college. They also demonstrate the influence of these rankings, which many higher-education officials complain are unscientific, overly general, and misleading.
  • The Princeton Review bases its rankings, in part, on unscientific surveys of students and administrators. There have also been instances in which colleges and universities themselves have been caught doctoring the statistics they provide to better their standings in U.S. News and other rankings.

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