GW Drops From 'Best Colleges' List
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 23:11
The George Washington University has been removed from the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges list after the school reported having inflated admissions data for over a decade.
The university, originally No. 51 on the list, admitted to having misreported admissions data by overestimating the number of accepted students in the top 10 percent of their class. Though the number for the fall 2011 incoming class was reported at 78 percent, it was actually 58 percent.
According to an interview in George Washington Today, the online news outlet of the university’s Division of External Relations, with Senior Vice Provost Forrest Maltzman, the error was arrived at partly through estimation.
“Because approximately two-thirds of high schools no longer report class rank, our admissions office estimated the class rank for those students who they assumed were at the top of their class,” he said.
The estimation was based on grade point averages and standardized test scores for those students and resulted in the 20 percent discrepancy.
The U.S. News ranking includes high school class standing in its methodology for creating the list of best colleges, with the amount of students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class accounting for 6 percent of the overall ranking.
The 20 percentage point difference in the report would have forced GWU out of its spot at No. 51, and according to a Nov. 15 article in The GW Hatchet, the school would have only dropped a few spots in the U.S. News ranking once the discrepancy was corrected.
Instead, U.S. News has opted to remove the school from the list altogether. GWU is now included on the “unranked” list.
The school will remain unranked until the next publication of the Best Colleges list.
In a Wednesday statement, University President Steven Knapp said he was taken aback by the school’s removal from the list.
“We were surprised by the decision of U.S. News to remove George Washington’s numerical ranking rather than to correct it in light of our disclosure,” he said in the release. “As I have said, we regret the error and have put safeguards in place to prevent such errors from occurring in the future.”
Georgetown is 21st in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of national universities.