Colleges Protest US News Ranking Survey
Glossy lobbying campaign called unseemly waste
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2010 5:36 AM CDT
Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, part of the growing movement against the reputation survey.   (

(Newser) – Each spring, US News & World Report asks college presidents to rank the reputations of other colleges—and a dozen or more presidents protest the surveys, refusing to fill them out and encouraging others to do the same. The focus this year is not only on the survey itself, a key factor in a school's ultimate US News ranking, but the the lobbying campaign among colleges it inspires —called "sordid" by one.

In the hopes of receiving better scores, colleges barrage their peers with glossy promotional materials ahead of the reputation survey—"money that could be spent on educating students," says the president of Washington College, one of the mostly mid-Atlantic colleges refusing to take part, the Washington Post reports. And as some schools protest the reputation survey, others, including Clemson and the University of Wisconsin, have taken the more underhanded approach of giving low scores to nearly every school listed except their own.