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Why Aren’t More Institutions Following Colorado College and RISD?

Why Aren’t More Institutions Following Colorado College and RISD?

Inside Higher Ed

Scott Jaschik
March 6, 2023
A week ago, L. Song Richardson, the president of Colorado College, sent all her students, faculty members and alumni a message: the college was leaving the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
“We are pulling out of this ranking because it privileges criteria that are antithetical to our values and our aspirational goals,” she said. “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.”
The college was the second undergraduate institution to withdraw in a month—the Rhode Island School of Design also withdrew from U.S. News in February.
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