The value of college endowments, which had rebounded following the recession, declined slightly despite a recovering stock market, U.S. News reports. This finding comes from the newly released 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, produced by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It turns out that 2012 was a sub-par year for the performance of college endowments. According to the study, the endowments of the 831 institutions surveyed had an average decline of 0.3 percent in the year ending June 30, 2012. This is down sharply from the previous year’s average gain of 19.2 percent and well below 2010’s gain of 11.9 percent, but better than the 18.7 percent decline for endowments that occurred during the recession in 2009. In terms of the methodology used to calculate the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, the absolute size and annual performance of a college’s endowment are not direct factors in the rankings……Read More
Once more, the largest and longest running survey of new U.S. college students refutes the often-stated belief by many in higher education that the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings are the primary factor in the average student’s choice of college. That conclusion comes from the University of California–Los Angeles‘s just-released survey, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2012.” This year’s data is based on the responses of 192,912 first-year students at 238 U.S. four-year colleges and universities who entered college in fall 2012. The highly regarded annual survey asks new freshmen to rate which factors were “very important” in influencing their decision to attend a particular college. Incoming fall 2012 freshmen could choose as many of the 23 reasons listed as they wanted……Read More
When US News & World Report debuted its list of “America’s Best Colleges” nearly 30 years ago, the magazine hoped its college rankings would be a game-changer for students and families. But arguably, they’ve had a much bigger effect on colleges themselves.
Yes, students and families still buy the guide and its less famous competitors by the hundreds of thousands, and still care about a college’s reputation. But it isn’t students who obsess over every incremental shift on the rankings scoreboard, and who regularly embarrass themselves in the process. It’s colleges.
It’s colleges that have spent billions on financial aid for high-scoring students who don’t actually need the money, motivated at least partly by the quest for rankings glory.…Read More
Not a month goes by without someone e-mailing to tell me about an awesome new college ranking that I must write about, says Jenna Johnson, columnist for the Washington Post. Quite often, I pass. Why? Because many of the rankings out there these days are based on somewhat questionable methodologies. I just wrote an article about the proliferation of college rankings (from hairiest students to hottest dorm dwellers to schools that look most like Hogwarts). Such lists have long been loved and hated, promoted and criticized by college administrators and admissions staffers. Each summer, my inbox fills with press releases from universities touting the Princeton Review’s dozens of rankings, which are based on more than 120,000 online surveys completed by students with school e-mail accounts. These rankings cover a wide range of campus life issues, including quality of the cafeteria food, dorms and party scene……Read More
Princeton University tied Harvard University as the top-ranked National University in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 rankings of Best Colleges, reports the Huffington Post. Last year, Harvard stood alone as the best ranked National University, a category that encompasses large, research-oriented schools. No changes took place at the very top of the rankings of National Liberal Arts Colleges—schools that emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in liberal arts fields—as Williams College once again edged Amherst College for the highest rank……Read More
Bob Morse is a wonk, a number-cruncher who works in a messy office at a struggling publishing company in Georgetown. He’s also one of the most powerful wonks in the country, wielding the kind of power that elicits enmity and causes angst, reports the Washington Post. Morse runs U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges guide, the oldest and best-known publication to rank America’s premier colleges. The annual release of the rankings, set for Sept. 13 this year, is a marquee event in higher education. Some call it the academic equivalent of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue……Read More
The National Association for College Admission Counseling surveyed its members on attitudes toward U.S. News’s Best Colleges rankings; recently the NACAC/U.S. News & World Report Ad Hoc Committee issued its first report on the survey, reports U.S. News & World Report. NACAC conducted the survey in May 2010. It asked various questions designed to measure the opinions among admission professionals at colleges, high schools, and independent counselors toward the Best Colleges rankings.The report contains an important disclaimer in terms of what role U.S. News played in the survey and the preparation of the report. The report says:
“…for purposes of this report, the term “Committee” refers only to the NACAC members who serve on the Ad Hoc Committee. Representatives of U.S. News & World Report meet with the Ad Hoc Committee to ensure an open dialogue with the association, but their views are not represented in this report.”
Highlights from the report include:…Read More
For institutions that regularly make the Top 10, the autumn announcement of university rankings is an occasion for quiet self-congratulation, reports the New York Times. When Cambridge beat Harvard for the No. 1 spot in the QS World University Rankings this September, Cambridge put out a press release. When Harvard topped the Times Higher Education list two weeks later, it was Harvard’s turn to gloat. But the news that Alexandria University in Egypt had placed 147th on the list — just below the University of Birmingham and ahead of such academic powerhouses as Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (151st) or Georgetown in the United States (164th)–was cause for both celebration and puzzlement. Alexandria’s Web site was quick to boast of its newfound status as the only Arab university among the top 200. Ann Mroz, editor of Times Higher Education magazine, issued a statement congratulating the Egyptian university, adding “any institution that makes it into this table is truly world class.”
But researchers who looked behind the headlines noticed that the list also ranked Alexandria fourth in the world in a subcategory that weighed the impact of a university’s research–behind only Caltech, M.I.T. and Princeton, and ahead of both Harvard and Stanford…