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UC Berkeley Removed From US News College Rankings For Misreporting Statistics

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert 511 replies3003 threads CC Admissions Expert
"Yesterday, US News & World Report released a statement titled 'Updates to 5 Schools' 2019 Best Colleges Rankings Data.' In the statement, they announced that five schools had been removed from the 2019 edition of the US News Best Colleges rankings, most notably UC Berkeley. According to US News, during the data collection period for the upcoming 2020 rankings, UC Berkeley notified US News that they had been misreporting data since at least 2014 by including pledges in their alumni giving a percentage (instead of only actual, tax-deductible donations). In response, US News removed them from their Best Colleges rankings, listing them as “Unranked” in their profile. The overall rankings are unchanged, meaning the #2 spot of 'Top Public Schools' is currently empty." ...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherrim/2019/07/26/uc-berkeley-removed-from-us-news-college-rankings-for-misreporting-statistics/#6218d4527578
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Replies to: UC Berkeley Removed From US News College Rankings For Misreporting Statistics

  • UndercrackersUndercrackers 878 replies2 threads Member
    Yeah, originally under Dirks' watch - some rules about reporting had changed, and Cal either ignored them or just plain goofed. The self-reporting of the misreported data may have been completely genuine or their hand may have been forced. Either way, the school will be VERY motivated to get the numbers right and comply so they get ranked again. I know that while some question the metrics U.S. News uses to rank schools, they ARE the 800-lb. gorilla in the room that you don't want to piss off. I'm sure Cal will be ranked again before the 2020 rankings come out in September. Where that ranking will be based on the corrected numbers is a different story. My kid has one more year there - another challenge for a great school that makes my heart lurch just a bit when thinking about how her education will be perceived by potential employers.

    As to the specific data misreported: is the level of alumni giving really a fair metric in comparing schools? I know it's only 5% of a school's U.S. News' ranking, but there are a lot of factors that could explain lower levels of donations that have nothing to do with the quality of the education).
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 2118 replies33 threads Senior Member
    My kid has one more year there - another challenge for a great school that makes my heart lurch just a bit when thinking about how her education will be perceived by potential employers..

    I think most employers know that UCB students are getting a great education at one of the premier universities in the U.S., if not the world. In September, UCB will be right back up there in the USNWR rankings, maybe it loses a spot or two with a slight downward revision to alumni giving but in the grand scheme of things, relatively unimportant.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13237 replies247 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    First UCLA bumped it, now this. The Cal folks must be pretty mad at USNews :(
    edited July 2019
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  • UndercrackersUndercrackers 878 replies2 threads Member
    @socaldad2002 You are, of course, correct. It's just been a rough few years, with the on-campus riots, never-ending lack of housing issues, and now this. When we hear something negative about a college, our prayer is always, "Please don't let it be Berkeley!" Sometimes, reputations follow a school forever. Ask my CSU Chico graduate husband - Playboy dubbed it a party school back in the 80's, and he was getting comments for YEARS during job interviews. I think they are still fighting that point-in-time perception.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1775 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Maybe all universities should “misreport” some minor points internationally then all rankings would be empty: a good thing imo.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4184 replies92 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    This is pretty much the stupidest reason for removing a ranking that I can think of. Does anyone really care if the donation level was 11% or 7%? It wasn't like they were fudging SAT scores or admission rates. And I doubt if there was any malicious intention there, probably just some bad bookkeeping. Until this came out last week, I had no clue what the donation level was, nor was it a factor at all in looking at the school. And I'll bet maybe one out of 50,000 applicants would even know what the level was.
    edited July 2019
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  • CU123CU123 3697 replies76 threads Senior Member
    Definitely seems like UCLA is the preferred UC now. Nicer campus, better location, not rife with riots, more of an academic atmosphere then a protest of the day atmosphere...…...
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2204 replies37 threads Senior Member
    If you survey the professors at tippy top privates, only UC Berkeley among the publics is considered a true peer. US News rankings won't change that.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2204 replies37 threads Senior Member
    ^If you look at the bios of the professors at these schools, the preponderance of them actually do come from the very top schools, including Berkeley. Even the professors who have graduated elsewhere are pretty conscious of the tierings. You'll find out pretty quickly if you ask them if they're willing to go to their alma maters to teach without significant incentives of some sort.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    1. I don't think USNews rankings should be treated as gospel. 2. I don't comb CDS or other reports for more than vague insight. 3. I never cared about alum giving as a measure- except in the context that it enhances the chances for large grants from corporations and foundations. Did not work with my kids on their college choices based on any of the above. Or prof salaries.

    Unfortunately, sure, being hired as a prof can depend on the decision-makers' feelings about the program the applicant attended for the terminal degree, usually PhD. But that's the PhD program, not the USNews hot scoop on the UG rankings.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2204 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    USNWR doesn't really have any insights. It basically aggregates data, puts various weights on some of them, which it changes from time to time, to come up a single numerical weighted average number for each college, and then sorts them into rankings. What else does it do?
    edited July 2019
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6623 replies143 threads Senior Member
    Actually I have looked and not looking for a debate. So many from overseas and others. Princeton Brown and others. Not talking about grad schools. Talking about Ug. Naturally there are many but not most. And you said tippy tops which I assume means top 10 and the LAC equivalent.

    To say they all graduated from top schools is accurate. It’s just not all tipping top as you mention and I don’t think they all believe in a survey that only Cal is a peer for UG in their discipline.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6623 replies143 threads Senior Member
    So just for a quick review, I went to the cellular/biology faculty page at none other than the number one tippy top. Princeton.

    Bio. Hotbed of premeds and the like. So some of the tippy top students at the number one school.

    Not a huge list.

    Professors undergrad schools.

    1 u Wisconsin
    1 western Kentucky
    1 uc Davis
    1 Norte dame
    1 cal state humboldt
    1 Hungary
    1 a Columbian university
    1 u Moscow
    1 Chinese u
    1 Brazilian u
    1 u suez. Egypt
    1 Harvard
    2 uc Berkeley
    2 Yale

    So out of 16 roughly. 3 from the tippy top group. Best bet is Cal itself! I’m sure they would think cal is great but the other tippy tops aren’t the only game in town. Obviously or they wouldn’t be professors at Princeton
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2204 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Just for fun. I looked up the professors in The Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at Caltech (it's smaller school so it's easier for me to count without making too many mistakes):

    Harvard - 8
    Princeton - 6
    UCB - 6
    MIT - 3
    Caltech - 3
    UChicago - 3
    Cornell - 2
    University of Cambridge - 2
    Imperial College of London - 1
    Stanford - 1
    Columbia - 1
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich - 1
    Niels Borhr Institute, University of Copenhagen - 1
    Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics - 1
    University Politehnica of Bucharest - 1
    University of Tokyo - 1
    WashU - 1
    UCSB - 1
    New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology - 1
    edited July 2019
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2204 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    ^Physics professors in The Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at Caltech
    edited July 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35356 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Well, it isn't only stem. (I know you know.) DH saw a lot of the lean toward hiring from the prestigious PhD universities, in his humanities field.

    But Berkeley is still Berkeley and has a fine rep...for the work they do.
    edited July 2019
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  • sushirittosushiritto 5182 replies20 threads Senior Member
    The University of Phoenix is going to be really upset. 😜
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  • washugradwashugrad 1161 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I haven't seen this article discussed on CC yet. I think it's germane to this convo although it might deserve its own thread. Basically some Reed stats students reverse-engineered the USNWR rankings to figure out one of the pieces of data they put into their calculation and found how the ranking system was able to penalize schools like Reed who don't play their game. https://www.reed.edu/reed-magazine/articles/2019/usnews-discrepancy.html
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