All of the college admissions community took note last month when leaders of Claremont McKenna College, an elite California liberal arts school, acknowledged their admission dean had inflated the school’s SAT numbers for years, the Washington Post reports. Much has been made of how this modest bit of fraud might affect Claremont McKenna’s rankings. One ranker, Kiplinger, went so far as to pull Claremont from its “value” rankings. (That seems ironic: does a slightly lower SAT average make the school a lesser value?) But dropping the school from the list is about the worst penalty a ranker can inflict on a college. What about Claremont McKenna’s accreditor? What about the Department of Education? Claremont McKenna must have reported inaccurate SAT numbers to them, too. Either of those agencies could conceivably inflict real penalties— such as suspension of accreditation, or of student aid—on a school that breaks the rules. The misdeed attributed to now-former admission Dean Richard Vos was to inflate Claremont McKenna’s annual SAT figures by 10 to 20 points…

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