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Many consumers of the USNWR rankings believe that the Alumni Giving element should not be included in the calculation of the rankings. Some even believe that the inclusion of this factor undermines the public universities and their ultimate ranking. In some cases, this is true, eg, for the UC Berkeley and UCLA which have a very low AG rate/rank, but there are also several publics that have strong giving rates (Georgia Tech, U Virginia).
My personal view is that this factor should not be included in a ranking of national universities unless one does separate rankings for privates and publics. I think it is an appropriate element for the privates, but not for the publics.
Below is an estimated recalculation of the USNWR Top 50 rankings without the Alumni Giving element.
Note: Due to ties of multiple schools at various points in the original rankings, the elimination of AG removes these ties and can give the impression of large changes in rankings. In addition, the evaluation here is solely for those colleges in the USWNR Top 50 national universities.