Sep 19, 2023 - News

Vanderbilt calls U.S. News ranking flawed

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University remains the state's highest-ranked college in the latest list released by U.S. News and World Report, but university officials are criticizing changes that caused the school to drop five spots this year.

  • The university fell to 18 after an overhaul of the ranking methodology.

Between the lines: Rankings were adjusted to add some new factors, including measures of success for first-generation college students, per U.S. News.

  • Some elements considered in past years, like class size and faculty education levels, were eliminated.

State of play: Vanderbilt has celebrated past rankings, but officials warned people to take this year's dip with a "bucket of salt," per the Tennessean.

What they're saying: "Vanderbilt is stronger than at any time in its history," the chancellor and provost wrote in a message to the university community.

  • The top officials criticized the methodology changes as "deeply misleading" and outlined what they saw as the most "glaring" of "many flaws" with the new process.
  • They noted that other institutions, including Vanderbilt's law school, had pulled out of U.S. News' higher ed rankings following "several years of questionable decisions."
  • "At Vanderbilt, we are considering our next steps in light of this year's developments."

The university scheduled meetings to discuss the new ranking methodology with students and alums as well as faculty and staff.


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