Officials at U.S. News & World Report have warned that some methodology changes this year might lead to more movement on the rankings -- announced this morning -- than is the norm. That may well be the case, but the top three national universities and liberal arts colleges will be quite familiar to those who have tracked the rankings in the past. And the top 10 lists look pretty familiar, too.
One statistic Inside Higher Ed has tracked is the participation rate of those who participate in the controversial "reputational" portion of the rankings, in which presidents and others evaluate other colleges -- a system many believe leads to high rankings for colleges that have been historically strong and well known. This year, the participation rate of presidents over all dropped two points, to 42 percent. At liberal arts colleges (a sector that has been particularly critical of the rankings) the numbers are stable at 47 percent. U.S. News continues to be unable to get a high participation rate from its survey of high school counselors. Only 11 percent participated this year, the same as last year.
College enrollment fell by 467,000 in the fall of 2012, according to a Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decline followed substantial increases in previous years. Most of the 2012 decline came from older students (those 25 and older). Their enrollment fell by 419,000.
The board of the Educational Testing Service announced Thursday that Walt MacDonald will become the next president and CEO. MacDonald is currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of ETS. He will succeed Kurt M. Landgraf, who has been president since 2000.
Lynn University has announced that it will no longer require the SAT or ACT from undergraduate applicants. Via e-mail, Gareth P. Fowles, vice president for enrollment management, said that while the university "recognizes that standardized tests are able to accurately measure the aptitude for a certain group of students ... we believe that standardized tests do not always reflect the true potential of all students." Applicants who are home schooled or who plan to participate in intercollegiate athletics will continue to be required to submit test scores.
The University of Notre Dame plans to start admitting students who lack the legal documentation to reside in the United States. To date, Notre Dame has not had an official ban on such students, but has treated them as international students, who must have student visas to enroll. That rule effectively made enrollment impossible for undocumented students -- who typically were brought to the United States as young children and have lived in the U.S. for many years. Announcement of the shift in policy appeared on social media Wednesday night and was confirmed by a Notre Dame admissions official.
Notre Dame's policy to start admitting undocumented students as domestic students reflects a significant commitment for the university because Notre Dame is among the small number of private institutions that pledge to meet the full financial need of all admitted (non-international) students. Since undocumented students are barred from federal student aid programs, and because many of them are from low-income families, their financial need could be large. The aid commitment, however, will only be made to those admitted, and Notre Dame admissions are quite competitive.