It’s a crazy era. College degrees – and laws school degrees and business school degrees – are worth less and less. A wide swath of America is beginning to experience a slow demographic decline in the number of high school graduates. And, amazingly, colleges continue to defy every law of supply and demand by raising cost more and more.
It can’t possibly be too surprising to anyone that at a bunch of bastions of higher education are also cheating like hell when it comes to the college rankings game.
While the problem of book-cooking may very well be much more widespread, these 10 schools have been cold-busted for inflating various numbers and falsely enhancing their academic reputations, usually in the U.S. news rankings.
10. FLAGLER COLLEGE
Last week, the sun-drenched, Spanish Renaissance campus of Flagler College in North Florida became the latest to get hit by an admissions cheating scandal when an internal investigation revealed that Marc Williar, the vice president for enrollment management, had brazenly exaggerated the grade-point averages, standardized test scores and class rankings of incoming freshmen from 2010 to 2013.
Flagler reported the dishonest information to a bunch of outfits including rankings-crazy U.S. News & World Report, reports The St. Augustine Record. U.S. News then duly accepted the numbers and crowned Flagler the #8 college in its ranking of best regional colleges in the South.
Williar, who has resigned, said he changed the data because he noticed the genuine credentials of first-year students had declined.
“I had a lapse in judgment,” he told the Record. “I would love to go unring the bell, but I can’t.”
9. EMORY UNIVERSITY
Emory’s little sleight of hand was to report the average of all admitted students instead of just the data for students who actually ended up choosing to attend Emory and not, say, some way better school.
8. TULANE UNIVERSITY
For at least two years, Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business provided false data to U.S. News. In December 2012, the New Orleans, La. school fessed up to the sham, which involved misreporting GMAT scores for full-time MBA students. Tulane also gave bad information about its total number of applicants.
“We deeply regret that this occurred,” Freeman School deam Ira Solomon assured the world in an earnest statement, according to The Times-Picayune.
7. CLAREMONT MCKENNA COLLEGE
After an internal investigation, a senior administrator in the Claremont McKenna admissions office resigned. While the school refused to say who the employee was, the Los Angeles Times speculates that it was Richard Vos, a one-time vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.
Claremont McKenna is currently ranked #9 in the vaunted U.S. News rankings of national liberal arts colleges. U.S. News doesn’t appear to have penalized the school one iota.