The Unranking of 10 Colleges

U.S. News removes the rankings of colleges that provided false information.

July 18, 2022
The US News Best Colleges logo, with a Post-it note that says "Oops" tacked on top.

U.S. News & World Report has unranked 10 colleges for errors in the material they provided for rankings. However, the punishment of the colleges only lasts until the next ranking list is released, which will be this fall.

The colleges punished include Columbia University, which already announced that it is skipping the next rankings as it investigates allegations that its data were, on several points, false.

The other colleges dropped from the undergraduate Best Colleges category are:

  • Northland College, which said its 2020 graduates’ average federal debt was $22,615. It revised that to $31,143.
  • The State University of New York at Morrisville, which originally reported its overall six-year graduation rate for the 2014 cohort was 48 percent and its Pell Grant graduation rate for that same cohort was 39 percent. The university recently told U.S. News that the correct overall graduation rate was 38 percent and Pell Grant graduation rate was 29 percent.
  • Western Illinois University, which said that 55 percent of its 2020 graduates had federal debt at graduation. Actually, that figure was 88 percent.
  • Whitman College, which reported that the average federal debt of 2020 graduates was $4,854 and that 25 percent of 2020 graduates had debt. The correct figures were $17,298 and 37 percent, respectively.
  • Villanova University, which reported its average 2021 need-based grant was $51,739. The correct figure was $40,323.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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