Professor Says Naval Academy Inflates Applicant Numbers to Improve Ranking

A professor at the U.S. Naval Academy has accused the institution of inflating its application numbers in order to appear more selective and thus rise in national rankings like those compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Students who applied to a weeklong Summer Seminar and candidates who never completed their applications are included in the academy’s annual tally of applicants, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the professor, Bruce Fleming. The Class of 2015 was reportedly chosen from 19,145 applicants, but only 5,720 people actually completed applications, according to the documents, which Mr. Fleming gave to the Navy Times. That means the academy’s 7.4-percent acceptance rate is actually closer to 25 percent. The academy defended its approach, saying it has used this method of counting applicants for at least 20 years. Mr. Fleming, an English professor, has been a longtime critic of the academy’s admissions policies.

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