: Duke up, UChicago down: Here’s the 2024 college rankings list from U.S. News

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Stock Market

U.S. News released its influential undergraduate college rankings Monday, a list that continues to inspire both fascination and derision.  Despite a change in methodology partially in response to recent criticisms, the same Ivy League and highly selective institutions still dominate the top of the list, even though there’s been some significant moves among the top-14 ranked schools.   

For years, college officials have complained behind closed doors that the U.S. News rankings incentivize behavior that’s not always in the best interest of students. This year, the U.S. News rankings even became a target of Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “It’s time to stop worshiping at the false altar” of the U.S. News rankings, Cardona said at a gathering of law schools convened by Harvard and Yale to talk about how best to share data after those two schools and others left the U.S. News law school rankings last year. “Colleges spend enormous resources chasing rankings they feel carry prestige, but in practice, just Xerox privilege and drive-up costs.”  Despite the exodus of top law and medical schools from the professional rankings, undergraduate colleges — even some whose professional schools defected — are still largely participating in the highly influential undergraduate rankings.  Columbia University was probably the highest profile school to say it wouldn’t share undergraduate data with U.S. News. That announcement, earlier this year, came after the school dropped from No. 2 to No. 18, in the wake of an analysis from one of the school’s math professors alleging the school submitted “highly misleading” statistics to the publication. Columbia later acknowledged that the data it sent to U.S. News was flawed.  This year, Columbia tied for the No. 12 spot. Other major movers near the top of the list include the University of Chicago, which fell six spots to No.12, and Duke University, which climbed three spots to No. 7. Duke’s move up the rankings comes a little more than a week after the New York Times called the school “one of the least economically diverse in the country.” The piece echoed concerns expressed by some college leaders and Cardona — that devoting resources to things that can help a school climb the rankings may be in tension with providing benefits to students, particularly low-income ones.  Duke’s president, Vincent Price, said in a statement responding to the article that the school cares “deeply about socioeconomic diversity,” while acknowledging that the Duke has “more work to do in this area.” He cited efforts that are already underway that have “yielded significant positive results,” including expanding financial aid for students from the Carolinas.  …

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