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Why ‘U.S. News’ Put George Washington U. in ‘Unranked’ Category

George Washington University’s rank in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 college guide would have been lower if it had submitted accurate class-rank data, according to the man whose calculations form the annual list of “Best Colleges.”

In a blog post on Friday, Robert J. Morse, director of data research at U.S. News, explained why the publication moved George Washington to the “Unranked” category this week. In cases of misreported data, U.S. News conducts a statistical simulation to determine what a college’s rank would have been if the correct figures had been used.

If a college’s rank would have been lower “even one or two spots” than its published rank, Mr. Morse wrote, U.S. News removes the college from the list until the following year’s edition is published. He did not specify how much lower George Washington’s rank—No. 51 in the latest edition—should have been.

Earlier this year Claremont McKenna College and Emory University revealed that officials in their respective admissions offices had intentionally submitted faulty data, to U.S. News and other recipients, for years (see articles here and here). Yet those institutions were not banished to the “Unranked” category, Mr. Morse wrote, because the difference between the misreported data and the corrected data was not big enough to change their overall ranks.

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