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After receiving severe criticism for its graduate school rankings, US News announced that it will be changing the methodology for its 2024 college rankings. The most significant change is to emphasize the success of diversity students, while reducing the impact of alumni giving and class size. It will be interesting to see how the diversity rankings then get affected as the Supreme Court could abolish affirmative action in college admissions in a verdict at the end of June.
The 2024 Best Colleges rankings, set to be released in the fall, will feature more emphasis on a school’s “success in graduating students from different backgrounds,” the company said. In addition, the methodology will remove metrics on alumni giving, faculty with the highest degrees in their fields, class size and high school standing of the entering class. Those will be included in school profiles but not in the rankings themselves.
“With college costs soaring, we want to ensure the educational resources we provide emphasize the outcomes for graduates of the schools in our rankings,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News. “This, in conjunction with the other outcomes-focused measures we are adopting, will further support a student’s decision-making process when they are making one of the most important decisions of their lives.”
The rankings have faced a variety of challenges in the past year with top colleges boycotting the graduate school edition and refusing to submit data. Once released the latest round of rankings also faced severe backlash.
One of the biggest criticisms by universities was that US News did not put enough emphasis on student diversity. While the new methodology aims to remedy this, it remains to be seen how the verdict on affirmative action will affect this.
The US Supreme Court is expected to give a verdict in two landmark cases at the end of June. It is expected that the verdict will prevent affirmative action for college admissions and universities are already planning contingencies for such a scenario, Reuters has reported. Colleges are urgently trying to maintain or increase racial and ethnic diversity in their student populations.
Affirmative action refers to policies that favor people belonging to certain groups considered disadvantaged or subject to discrimination, in areas such as hiring and student admissions. Administrators said they are drafting strategies to expand their recruitment of diverse applicants, remove application barriers and increase the rate of minority students who accept their admissions offers. These policies could of course change based on the verdict.