Fighting College Fraud

It’s that time of year again: college ranking season.

Last week, Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity released their annual ranking of America’s best colleges. But what was most notable wasn’t what colleges made the list—it was those that were conspicuously missing.

Claremont McKenna, Emory, Bucknell, and Iona were all absent from the ranking. Why? Because they had all been falsifying the data they reported to the Department of Education and others.

At Forbes.com, Abram Brown explained:

Claremont McKenna isn’t the only top college that lied. Bucknell University doctored SAT results from 2006 to 2012; Emory University provided numbers for admitted students rather than enrolled ones for more than a decade; and Iona College lied about acceptance and graduation rates, SAT scores and alumni giving for nine years starting in 2002. . . . As a penalty for their dishonesty . . . we are removing the four institutions from our list of the country’s best schools for two years.

It is only natural that, when high-stakes rankings depend on self-reported data, the pressure to cheat will be immense. That’s why ACTA’s independent study of core curricula relies on the kind of assessment schools cannot easily game.

Ultimately, we need to replace our broken accreditation system with a requirement that colleges provide the public with independently certified annual data on a variety of outcome measures. If schools cook the books, their access to federal funds should be cut off.

It is hard enough for parents and students to get the information they need to make informed choices about a college education. We don’t need dishonest college administrators making it any harder.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More