Tulane University has admitted that it sent U.S. News & World Report incorrect information about the test scores and total number of applicants for its M.B.A. program.
The admission -- as 2012 closed -- made the university the fourth college or university in that year to admit false reporting of some admissions data used for rankings. In 2011, two law schools and one undergraduate institution were found to have engaged in false reporting of some admissions data.
A statement issued by Tulane said that it discovered the problem when preparing a new set business school data for U.S. News and found that numbers, "including GMAT scores and the number of applications, skewed significantly lower than the previous two years. Since the school’s standards and admissions criteria have not changed, this raised a concern that our data from previous years had been misreported."
Tulane's statement went on to say that new controls put in place last year led to the discovery of the problem. The university has hired outside groups, the statement said, to conduct an audit of past data to determine the full extent of the problem. "We deeply regret that this occurred. The checks and balances we have implemented will provide assurance that this will not happen again," said the statement, which was issued by Ira Solomon, dean of Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business.
Robert Morse, who heads the rankings at U.S. News, wrote on his blog that the incorrect data had been used in calculating Tulane's rank in the magazine's M.B.A. rankings. Currently the university is 43rd on that list.
Tulane officials told him that they didn't yet know what the correct figures were for the year (and possibly other years) for which incorrect data had been submitted, or how far off the reported numbers were from the real ones. The university hopes to have those answers later this month.
Morse wrote that, when Tulane submits all the information, U.S. News will study whether the incorrect information had an impact on the business school's rank.
In the methodology the magazine uses to evaluate M.B.A. program, the average GMAT score has a weight of 16.25 percent, and the acceptance rate (which is based in part on the total number of applicants) counts for 1.25 percent.
The other institutions that in 2012 admitted submitting incorrect data to U.S. news were Claremont McKenna College, Emory University and George Washington University. In those three cases, the data were for undergraduate admissions.