Okay, this is starting to look like an epidemic. Two more schools have been caught reporting incorrect data to the U.S. News & World Report, after California’s Claremont McKenna got in trouble for similar fraudulence earlier this year.
But while Claremont McKenna appears to have deliberately inflated its average SAT scores in order to rise in the rankings, these schools — the University of St. Thomas (in Minnesota) and the University of Houston — seem to have made more minor mistakes. St. Thomas’s School of Law claimed that 80.6 percent of its students had jobs at the time of graduation (actually, just under 33 percent did); Houston overreported research expenditures for its education school. Neither of these figures would have made a huge difference in the school’s rankings, and it’s unclear whether the bad data was a deliberate attempt to make the schools seem more prestigious than they actually are.
Still, as more of these little problems crop up, it’s hard not to wonder how many more schools are skewing their data. Is it time for U.S. News to examine self-reported information more closely?