Villanova is removed from U.S. News' Best Value list after reporting … – The Philadelphia Inquirer

“It’s something that the university takes seriously and obviously regrets that an error occurred,” spokesperson Jonathan Gust said.
Villanova University was knocked off of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value ranking after the school reported it had supplied incorrect information.
The university initially reported the average 2021 need-based grant it awarded to students as $51,739; the correct amount is $40,323. The grant is used in three ranking indicators that account for 80% of the Best Value ranking, according to U.S. News. Villanova was moved into the “unranked” category as a result.
The error, however, did not affect the university’s ranking as the 49th best national university. The need-based grant is not used to calculate that ranking.
» READ MORE: Temple's former business school dean was sentenced to 14 months in rankings scandal fraud
Villanova spokesperson Jonathan Gust said the error was due to a “data coding issue” and that the inaccurate data was unintentionally reported. The university recently discovered the error and reported it to U.S. News immediately, he said.
“It’s something that the university takes seriously and obviously regrets that an error occurred,” he said. “The university will continue to work closely with its auditing team to bolster our data reporting mechanisms.”
Villanova was among 10 schools that were moved to unranked categories after errors or problems were discovered for the 2022 edition, according to U.S. News. Typically, less than .1% of schools inform the news magazine of errors each year, U.S. News said.
Also this year, U.S. News pulled Columbia University’s No. 2 ranking of national universities after a math professor there questioned the accuracy of the data the school provided, and the university failed to respond to an inquiry from U.S. News.
» READ MORE: Rutgers business school accused of rankings fraud, hiring own grads in temp jobs to boost its scores
“U.S. News… relies on schools to accurately report their data so prospective students and their families can make informed decisions throughout their college search,” the university said on its website in announcing the decision about Columbia. “When schools do not accurately report their data, U.S. News will review the matter on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate remedial actions.”
The news magazine did not respond to an inquiry about Villanova.
Colleges and prospective students and parents continue to place premium value on high placement in U.S. News rankings. But at some schools, the rankings have led to problems.
Earlier this year, Temple’s former business school dean was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for orchestrating a scheme to submit false data to U.S. News to boost the school’s rankings. Moshe Porat was fired in 2018 after the university investigated and found that the business school knowingly submitted the false data.
The scandal cost the university millions in legal settlements with state and federal agencies and former students who sued, saying they had been misled and their degrees had been devalued. Temple’s Online MBA program was ranked No. 1 for four consecutive years before the false reporting was discovered.
Rutgers University’s business school in April was sued in federal court over allegations that it submitted “false and misleading employability statistics” to U.S. News and other ranking organizations. Rutgers has denied the allegations.
More than a decade ago, Villanova’s law school was censured by the American Bar Association for knowingly reporting false data to the organization. The school said at that time that grade-point averages and LSAT scores for incoming freshmen had been inflated for a period of years. The data reported to the bar association is used by U.S. News to calculate rankings.


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