Famous College Ranker Overhauls System After Law Schools Pull Out Due to Equity Concerns

by Reagan Reese


U.S. News & World Report is modifying its law school ranking system after several top schools pulled out of the rankings altogether, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The ranker will give dean, faculty, lawyer and judge “reputational surveys” less weight and will no longer consider per-student expenditures which critics have said favor the wealthiest schools during the ranking process, according to the WSJ. The announcement comes after top law schools Yale, HarvardGeorgetownColumbia, the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford pulled out of the rankings, saying the report hurts schools that admit students with lower test scores because they could not afford tutoring and academic services.

A ranking team for U.S. News met with more than 100 deans and law-school administrators after the prestigious law schools announced they would no longer be participating in the rankings, the WSJ reported.

“Based on those discussions, our own research and our iterative rankings review process, we are making a series of modifications in this year’s rankings that reflect those inputs and allow us to publish the best available data,” Robert Morse, U.S. News’ chief data strategist, and Stephanie Salmon, senior vice president for data and information strategy, told the WSJ.

Yale Law School, U.S. News & World Report’s top law school, was the first school to pull out of the national ranking system, calling the program “flawed.”

“While academic scores are an important tool, they don’t always capture the full measure of an applicant,” Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a press release. “This heavily weighted metric imposes tremendous pressure on schools to overlook promising students, especially those who cannot afford expensive test preparation courses. It also pushes schools to use financial aid to recruit high-scoring students. As a result, millions of dollars of scholarship money now go to students with the highest scores, not the greatest need.”

U.S. News said law school administrators have concerns on how the ranking system weighs diversity and loan forgiveness which “potentially encourages awarding scholarships based on LSAT scores rather than on financial need,” the WSJ reported. For those concerns “additional time and collaboration” will be needed, the U.S. News & World Report told the law schools.

The company also will offer “more detailed profiles” to law schools who choose to stay in the rankings and give the report information, the WSJ reported.

The U.S. News & World Report did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Reagan Reese is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Law School Classroom” by Tulane Public Relations. CC BY 2.0.




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