ERIC Number: EJ1057176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 7
Moving up in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings
Martin, Jeremy P.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n2 p52-60 2015
Rankings are a powerful force in higher education, swaying the enrollment decisions of prospective students and affecting the opinions of parents, board members, and policymakers. In the words of one provost, "The rankings matter to our university because they matter to people who matter to us." Rankings are also a business--one that is expanding globally. "U.S. News and World Report" ("USNWR"), the dominant player in America, added a global ranking in 2014 and plans a list for Arab countries. "Times Higher Education" in Britain, one of the major players in global rankings, plans a list devoted to the emerging economies, including the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The Shanghai ranking (officially the "Academic Ranking of World Universities"), published by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University--another powerful global player--is a government-sponsored effort to establish and improve the international standing of Chinese universities. The US federal government is also considering entering the rankings fray. As powerful as the existing publications currently are, the mere possibility of a federal rating tied to the annual distribution of $150 billion in grants and loans has seriously disturbed college and university leaders and their associations. Despite resounding pushback and likely defeat by a Republican-controlled Congress of any plan to attach it to federal financial aid, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan continue to push for a rating system based on value and performance. A singular obsession with institutional ranking is clearly not a good thing, but what about the goal itself? Is it attainable? Does anyone actually succeed in breaking into the upper echelons of the "USNWR" rankings? With an understanding of the underlying scores that comprise the "USNWR" ranking, this article examines how rankings change over time. Research shows that for one university ranked in the mid-30s to reach the top 20, the estimated cost would be $112 million annually. Research concludes that Universities that are currently focused on a rise in the "USNWR" rankings would be wise to use their resources to pursue other strategic goals for their institutions.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Achievement Rating, Institutional Characteristics, Reputation, Periodicals, Consumer Education, Enrollment, Scoring Formulas, Scores, Universities
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A