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‘U.S. News’ Says 2 Colleges Misreported Rankings Data

U.S. News & World Report said on Wednesday that two colleges had submitted inflated data that were used in the 2015 edition of the magazine’s “Best Colleges” rankings.

Robert J. Morse, U.S. News’s chief data strategist, and Diane Tolis, its director of data projects, wrote a blog post explaining the two cases, involving Lindenwood University, in St. Charles, Mo., and Rollins College, in Winter Park, Fla. Several other colleges have been involved in cases of misreported rankings data in recent years.

The two U.S. News officials said that Lindenwood had advised the magazine that it had submitted incorrect figures for the number of alumni who donated to the university in 2012-13. The correct number is 2,411, not the 12,411 that the university reported initially.

Rollins, the officials said, submitted inflated counts for the number of students admitted to the class that entered in the fall of 2013. The college said the correct number is 2,783, not 2,233.

Lindenwood’s misreported data caused the university to be ranked higher than it otherwise would have been in the rankings category for regional universities in the Midwest. U.S. News moved Lindenwood to its “unranked” category as a result. Rollins’s position in the rankings did not change, U.S. News said, because the discrepancy between the misreported data and the corrected data was not significant enough to affect its numerical rank in its category.

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