Temple Rankings Scandal: From Bad to Worse

University admits it provided false data for six additional programs beyond the online M.B.A. for which it already made such an admission.

July 30, 2018
 

The rankings scandal at Temple University keeps getting worse.

This month, after an independent investigation, the university admitted that its Fox School of Business had for several years intentionally submitted false data to boost the rankings of its online M.B.A. program. The falsehoods were about standardized admissions tests, grades of new students, debt of graduates and more.

The independent investigation hinted that the lies might have extended beyond the online M.B.A. On Wednesday, the university said that was in fact the case. A statement it released said that false data had been submitted for rankings purposes by six other programs at the business school. The programs include the university's executive M.B.A., global M.B.A., part-time M.B.A., master of science in human resource management and master of science in digital innovation in marketing. In addition, more limited falsehoods were reported on the online bachelor's of business program. In all of these cases, the false data were submitted to U.S. News & World Report.

"These programs all had issues related to the reporting of one or more metrics, including the number of new entrants providing GRE/GMAT scores, student indebtedness and applicants’ undergraduate [grades]. For the Online Bachelor of Business Administration, misreporting related to student indebtedness was found. As a result, we have reported to U.S. News that we cannot verify data related to these programs, and we are not participating in or submitting business school surveys at this time," said a letter released to Temple students and faculty members by Richard M. Englert, the university's president, and JoAnne A. Epps, executive vice president and provost.

The letter pledged to prevent a repeat of the scandal.

"Integrity in the way we conduct and represent ourselves to the world is a fundamental value at Temple," the letter said. "The university is committed to the highest standards of accuracy in its data submissions to rankings organizations and has implemented rigorous new university-wide procedures to ensure this. As we said earlier this month, Temple is in contact with a number of agencies that have an interest in this matter. We are updating them as new information develops. We continue to diligently pursue the review of rankings data and will share additional updates."

When the university announced the findings on the online M.B.A. program, it announced that it was replacing Moshe Porat as dean of the business school. Wednesday's announcement was not accompanied by any news of personnel changes, and the university did not respond to a question on whether more changes had been made.

A spokeswoman for U.S. News said via email that the Fox school has been placed in an "unranked" category by the magazine.

The letter from Temple's leaders also pledged to cooperate with a growing number of investigations into the rankings lies. Among those investigating are the U.S. Education Department, the Pennsylvania attorney general and two accreditors.

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