New Study Quantifies Impact of College Ratings - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

New Study Quantifies Impact of College Ratings

Email


by Jon Marcus, The Hechinger Report


Being named a top party school by the Princeton Review could cost a university an 8 to 9 percent decline in the percentage of out-of-state students who enroll.

That’s among the conclusions of a new study that measures the impact on higher education of controversial annual college rankings.

Being named one of the 25 best colleges by U.S. News & World Report gets an institution 6 to 10 percent more applications than it would otherwise receive, the research, published in the journal of the American Educational Research Association, shows. Making the top 20 for academic quality in the Princeton Review pushes up the number of applications by 2.3 percent.

The findings are the most specific since a 2011 study at the Harvard Business School reported that rising by just one number in the U.S. News & World Report rankings leads to a nearly 1 percent increase in applications to a university or college.

They also demonstrate the influence of these rankings, which many higher education officials complain are unscientific, overly general, and misleading.

“It raises important questions about the large role these arbitrary rankings can play in the college selection process,” says Randall Reback, an associate professor at Barnard College who co-authored the study along with Molly Alter, a research analyst for the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University.

The Princeton Review bases its rankings, in part, on unscientific surveys of students and administrators.

There have also been instances in which colleges and universities themselves have been caught doctoring the statistics they provide to better their standings in U.S. News and other rankings.

  COMPUTER SCIENCE: Computing For Cures

At a time when students and families are fed with up with rising college costs, University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., cut tuition 10 percent last year and is promising to keep costs unchanged for entering freshmen for the next four years.

Making the Princeton Review lists of campuses with happy students increased the number of applications to a college by 2.9 percent, and “most beautiful” by 2.3 percent, Reback and Alter found. Being among the “least happy” institutions cost schools a 5 percent falloff in applications and “unsightly,” a 5.2 percent decline.

Universities and colleges are also affected by how their closest rivals do in these rankings. Unfavorable ratings for one school can result in declines in applications for similar colleges, for instance.

But applications also fall by 6.3 percent at institutions whose competitors end up between 11th and 25th in U.S. News, and by 2.9 percent at those whose rivals make the Princeton Review top 20 list for academics.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Studies Show Minimal Socialization Boost for Interracial Dorm Roommates When Dr. Russell H. Fazio, a psychology professor at The Ohio State University, examined interracial relationships between Black and White dormitory roommates a while back, he found that the relationships were more likely to dissolve if the White stu...
Study: Career and Tech Ed Provides Slight Boost for High School Achievement Students who take career and technical education courses during their junior or senior year in high school are 1.5 percent more likely to graduate on time and 1.6 percent less likely to drop out of high school for each CTE course taken, a new study h...
Stephen Hawking’s Ph.D. Thesis Goes Online, Website Crashes LONDON — Cambridge University has put Stephen Hawking’s doctoral thesis online, triggering such interest that it crashed the university’s website. Completed in 1966 when the renowned physicist and author was 24, “Properties of Expanding Universes”...
West Virginia University Researcher Lessons Learned in Iceland MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University researcher is working in two counties to apply lessons about peer groups from Iceland where he says teenage use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco has been “virtually eradicated.” Alfgeir Kristjansson, ass...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *