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ERIC Number: ED532392
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
College Rankings Inflation: Are You Overpaying for Prestige? Education Outlook. No. 3
Hess, Frederick M.; Hochleitner, Taryn
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
College ranking guides such as Barron's "Profiles of American Colleges" and "US News and World Report" serve as bibles for college applicants and their families. The schools they proclaim as most competitive or elite receive a flood of applications, despite their often-hefty price tags. However, the ranks of the top-tier schools are growing, without any evidence that these schools' instructional quality is increasing. Inflation in the number of applications each student submits means that each school seems more selective, and inflation in students' high school GPAs means that their accepted student bodies appear more accomplished. This false sense of exclusivity allows top-tier schools to raise their tuition, knowing parents and students are willing to pay more for the sake of access to the perceived prestige of these institutions. Applicants and their families should be wary of letting these rankings serve as the main criteria in their college decisions. (Contains 2 figures and 21 notes.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research