Rankings Methodology Hurts Public Institutions

In the 1980s, when the U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges were based solely on reputation, the nation's public universities were well represented at the top. Four of the 14 national universities that were ranked in 1983 were public institutions. In 1987, the first year that the rankings expanded to a top 25, eight were public.

But as soon as the magazine began including its "measures of excellence," statistics intended to define quality, public universities nearly