Colorado College announced Monday that it is leaving the rankings produced each year by U.S. News & World Report.
L. Song Richardson, the president, wrote to the campus that, “We are pulling out of this ranking because it privileges criteria that are antithetical to our values and our aspirational goals. Here are a few examples. U.S. News’ flawed methodology still equates academic quality with institutional wealth and continues to rely heavily on the infamous questionnaire asking institutions to rank each other’s reputation, a non-objective process subject to gaming. It continues to equate academic rigor with high school rank and standardized test scores, a metric that creates perverse incentives for schools to provide ‘merit’ aid at the expense of need-based aid. This metric is also inconsistent with our belief that the educational experiences we provide transform our students regardless of these class rank and test scores, which is why we went test-optional in 2019. Further, U.S. News & World Report’s methodology, weighing the proportion of students with debt and the total amount of debt at graduation, creates incentives for schools to admit wealthy students who can attend without incurring debt. We cannot reconcile our values and our aspirations with these metrics or the behaviors they motivate.”
Colorado College has been ranked from 25th to 29th for the past decade. Richardson added, “We expect that we will drop in the rankings based on our decision to leave the U.S. News & World Report rankings. If this occurs, it will not be because our educational quality has changed, but because U.S. News & World Report will continue to rank us using incomplete data.”
Law schools and medical schools, including many highly ranked institutions, have dropped out of U.S. News this winter and fall. The Rhode Island School of Design is the only other undergraduate college to have recently left the U.S. News rankings, although Reed College withdrew in 1995.
Eric Gertler, U.S. News’ executive chairman and CEO, responded in a statement. “We know that comparing diverse academic institutions across a common data set is challenging, and that is why we have consistently stated that the rankings should be one component in a prospective student’s decision-making process. The fact is, millions of prospective students annually visit U.S. News education rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process.”