Perk Pressure Judgment Falsifies University Admissions Reporting

by Hal Mooz 20. March 2013 08:56

Caught cheating: Colleges falsify admissions data for higher rankings

As consumers and the federal government push for greater transparency about such things as cost, average debt, and job-placement rates, major universities have been caught misrepresenting those and other numbers to improve the way they look to prospective students. “We on the inside have a pretty good idea of who is reporting accurately and who is not. And quite a few schools appear to be cooking the books,” said Texas Christian Dean of Admission Raymond Brown..

That dirty little secret has started to slip out as competition intensifies to attract top students and scale the all-important college rankings. In an admissions battleground on which universities grapple for any advantage, rising by just one number in the U.S. News & World Report rankings leads to a nearly 1 percent increase in applications, a 2011 study at the Harvard Business School found.

Falsified data

In the past year alone, six top colleges and universities have admitted falsifying information sent to the U.S. Department of Education, their own accrediting agencies, and U.S. News, whose college rankings remain the nation’s most prominent. Another was caught the year before. For many of the schools, the misrepresentations had gone on for years.

A senior administrator at Claremont McKenna College resigned after admitting that he falsified admissions test scores submitted to U.S. News and the U.S. Department of Education. For years Bucknell inflated the mean SAT scores of entering students by an average of 16 points, the university’s president has admitted. Tulane’s business school gave U.S. News false data about its number of applicants and inflated their average scores on admissions tests by 35 points.

Emory University misreported student data to U.S. News and other organizations that rank universities and colleges, school officials said, providing the much-higher SAT averages of students who applied and were admitted, rather than those who enrolled. It also inflated entering students’ class ranks. Two former admissions deans and other administrators were aware of the practice, according to the university.


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About Hal Mooz

Engineer, Project Manager, Entrepreneur, Author, Trainer, Lecturer, Thought Leader, Consultant

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