Education June 1, 2018: Harvard remains on top of Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings for eighth year

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Harvard remains on top of Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings for eighth year

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The crown jewel of the Ivy League, Harvard University again is the world most prestigious university reputation-wise. Photo: Harvard.edu

When it comes to reputation, no university in the world can surpass Harvard, who is again the top university. On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, The Times Higher Education released their eighth annual World Reputation Rankingwith Harvard University remaining in the top spot for seven years in a row. American and universities have held steady despite concerns over Donald Trump’s presidency. British universities have not held up as well after the vote for Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union. Asian universities, however, have also stalled despite their recent rise.

Eight of the top 10 were American universities, with only the United Kingdom breaking up their domination. The top three remains the same as last year and are all American universities, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the second place, and Stanford University in third. British universities round out the top five with the Universities of Cambridge at fourth and Oxford down one to fifth place.

There was little movement in the middle of the top ten. The University of California, Berkeley remains in sixth place, Princeton University stays in seventh, while Yale University remains in eighth place. The big change was at the bottom of the top 10, the University of Chicago stays at ninth but now shares the position, tied with new top ten entry, the University of California, Los Angeles for ninth. The California Institute of Technology, Caltech drops off out of the top ten moving from 10th to 11th position.

The ranking is considered, “the definitive list of the world’s most prestigious universities.” Phil Baty, the rankings editor for THE, explains, “Reputation is the global currency of higher education. It may be subjective; it may not always be fair, but it matters deeply.” THE’s World Reputation Rankings “have become a major fixture in the higher education calendar — serving as a yearly global academic brand audit and attracting news headlines across the world.”

The ranking is international, with 19 countries represented in the top 100 universities. The United States has the most schools in the ranking 44 institutions represented in the top 100, 28 alone in the top 50, with Harvard the top ranking. Despite, concerns that President Donald Trump’s immigration policies would turn off international students, and affect American universities standings that have not been the case.

Baty commented on American universities standing in the world, saying, “What is particularly striking is that the U.S. has actually strengthened its position in the world… despite fears that the U.S. is suffering a ‘Trump slump’ in terms of its global reputation. While we have seen evidence that some international students are seeing the U.S. as a less attractive option, with declining applications, this data from the global academic community suggests the top U.S. universities remain the most highly regarded in the world by a mile.”

In the second place, the United Kingdom has the second most universities in the ranking, with the University of Cambridge as the country’s the top school and Oxford University also in the top five breaking up the American monopoly. The UK, however, has not fared as well as post-Brexit, exit from the European Union vote. UK universities slipped in the new ranking, from a British publication no less. Last year there were 10 schools in the top 100, this year they have nine, with Durham University falling below the top 100. Other schools saw their numbers fall, King’s College London (41st) and Edinburgh (34th), both lost one place in the ranking. While top 20 schools, University College London (18th) and Imperial College (20th), both lost two positions from last year. The London School of Economics saw the greatest loss, going from 20th to 25th place this edition.

Brexit is not the only issue plaguing, British universities, some schools did poorly in the Government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework, which looks at “quality of teaching” in high education. There have been issues and controversies on campus, which scandals and questioning the “excessive pays” for university administration, while “snowflake” students are hindering freedom of speech, and do not want to be taught controversial topics.

Alan Smithers, a professor of education at the University of Buckingham, told the Daily Mail, “This hasn’t been a good year for the reputation of the UK’s universities, with rows about pay, safe spaces and freedom of speech. We need to up our game to ensure that the falls this year are not the beginning of a trend.”

Neither is Asian universities taking over the ranking has been the trend in recent years, while American and British are getting votes from all over the world, Asian schools get their votes mostly in the region, their brands are regional only. Many schools from China and Japan have lost ground in the ranking. China has six schools in the top 100, with three of them falling the ranking, however, China’s best school’s Tsinghua and Peking Universities remain in the top 20, at 14th and 17th place as they were in 2017. Japan’s standing is in the most trouble among Asian schools, they lose one school in the top 100, going down to five. However, the highest-ranking university outside the US and UK comes from Japan with The University of Tokyo at the 13th place down from 11th last year.

Simon Marginson, an analyst and director of University College London’s Centre for Global Higher Education, claims the difference is because of “improved real performance and the reputational effects it generates.” According to Marginson, top universities in the US and the UK “earned their reputations over the whole 20th century and beyond and have not slipped in standard, so they are difficult to displace.” Asian universities including from Singapore and South Korea, “only really showed themselves as strong in the 1990s, and China’s rise is essentially post-2000.” Baty also indicates that Asian, particularly Chinese schools rose quickly, but now “stalled.” According to Baty, “This new data shows just how hard it is for emerging powers to break into the traditional global elite.”

The three Asian universities fare better than any European institutions, where the top school ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which remains at 22, but now, tied with Canada’s University of Toronto. European universities are also “losing ground.” Germany, the European country with the most universities in the top 100 still has their six, but three of them are ranking lowered than the last edition. Australia’s universities have also dropped in the ranking, although they maintain three in the top 100, two have fallen since last year, the University of Melbourne is the top school at tied for 47th place. In the Middle East, Israel’s highest-ranking school remains the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; it enters the top 100 in the 91–100 position.

Canada has three universities in the top 100, with the University of Toronto, the country’s top school moving up from 24 to tie for 22nd position. Meanwhile, the University of British Columbia is in second place in the country moves up two spots to number 38. McGill University, which usually ranks as the top university in Canadian rankings, is only third in THE’s World Reputation Ranking of all Canadian schools, and also moves up, one place to 41st.

The rankings are entirely based on the opinion of the institutions, as THE explains, “The rankings are entirely subjective — they are based purely on an annual opinion survey.” The methodology for determining the rankings consists of sending the survey to “more than 10,000 top scholars from around the world. Each academic was asked to name up to 15 universities that they believe are the best for research and teaching in their discipline. Votes for institutions based on research prowess were given twice the weight of those for teaching.”

Top 10 World Reputation Rankings

2018 reputation rank — 2017 reputation rank — Institution Country

1, 1 Harvard University, United States,

2, 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

3, 3 Stanford University, United States,

4, 4 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom,

5, 5 University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

6, 6 University of California, Berkeley, United States

7, 7 Princeton University, United States, 7

8, 8 Yale University, United States, 12

=9, 13 University of California, Los Angeles

=9, 9 University of Chicago

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Education May 30, 2018: Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

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Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Photo: Harvard.edu

The first major university ranking of the year released is the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), who publishes their list way before the start of the new academic year. On Monday, May 28, 2018, CWUR released their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities in the world, where once again Harvard remained the top university, now for the seventh year running.

The CWUR is one of only two major rankings that are not published by a western country in either the United States or the United Kingdom. CWUR is centered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although the top schools remained the same, the ranking saw a lot of movement especially in the ranking of the countries and their individual top schools representing a changing landscape in the best global universities.

The 2018 edition is the seventh year CWUR has released their rankings; the relatively new listing first started in 2012. It includes their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities and 61 countries, the largest number. After Harvard, the rest of the top three remains the same as last year with Stanford second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) third. Two British universities round out the top five as last year, with the University of Cambridge in fourth place closely followed by the University of Oxford rounding out the top five.

The second half of the top ten had a lot of movement, the University of California, Berkeley moved up one spot from seventh to sit at the sixth position. Princeton University also moved up, two spots from the ninth to the seventh position. Columbia University moved down two places to the eighth position. Only one university entered the top ten the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moving up from number 11 to the ninth place. While the University of Chicago fell two spot to round out the top ten. Yale University dropped out of the top ten this year to number 11.

The US dominated the CWUR rankings as it does with most other world university rankings; however, there are less American schools in the top 1000, last year there were 225 this year there are only 213. The CWUR ranking shows how preeminent Asian schools are becoming globally, here they follow the US in the most school represented an honor usually reserved for the United Kingdom. This year’s edition there are more schools that are Asian represented, there are 108 schools from China listed, the number keep rising, with 97 in 2017 and 90 in 2016.

The United Kingdom has improved their standing, but and have lowered the number of universities represented, they have 62 schools listed down from 65, but now have the third most schools in the ranking. The UK has consistently two universities in the top ten, and they are the only other country to break American dominance. Only four universities from the 24 that are part of the Russell Group fell in the ranking.

The UK rise in the country ranking has more to do with Japan losing ground that any improvement in their standing. In the past three ranking Japan’s number of schools represented has dwindled. Currently Japan has 56 schools in the list down from 71 in 2017 and 74 in 2016. Still, Japan has the first school to make the global list outside of the US and the UK with the University of Tokyo up one to at number 12, which also the top ranking Asian school.

France this year takes third place in the world with 58 schools featured, and the Sorbonne University as their top school coming in the top 30 at 29 and replacing École Polytechnique for the honor.

CWUR also includes rankings by country, with lists of the best universities in the major countries in all the world’s regions and they correspond to the rankings on the international list. Therefore, Harvard also tops the USA list, while the number four University of Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s top school. The first university ranking from the European continent is Switzerland’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which ranks at 28th down one from last year. In Oceania, Australia has the top school with the University of Melbourne at 57, replacing the University of Sydney for the top place.

Canada is only the fourth country to reach the top 20, with the University of Toronto at 17th place moving up from 28 last year. Overall, Canada is in 10th place with 28 universities on the list, but all their top school moving up; the University of Toronto also remains Canada’ top school again this year. McGill retains their position in second place ranking at 37th up from 41 last year. At their heels is third place the University of British Columbia at number 38 up from 55 in the last edition.

In the Middle East, the Weizmann Institute of Science replaces the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the Middle East and Israel’s highest-ranking university. The title is hardly a victory, the Weizmann Institute ranks at number 45 down from 39 last year. Hebrew University fell over 30 places from 27th last year to just 61st this year. Hebrew U usually ranks as Israel’s top university. Israel has one other school in the top 100 is the Tel Aviv University at 85. Israel has seven schools represented in the ranking.

The key to their methodology is objectivity; all the seven indicators are backed by solid, quantifiable statistics emphasizing graduate success and faculty research. The seven factors are “quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research output, quality publications, influence, and citations.” This year CWUR revised their methodology with “research now accounting for 70% of the total score.” According to the description of their methodology, “The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students along with the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.”

Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) top 10:

1. Harvard University (1)

2. Stanford University (2)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (3)

4. University of Cambridge (4)

5. University of Oxford (5)

6. University of California, Berkeley (7)

7. Princeton University (9)

8. Columbia University (6)

9. California Institute of Technology (11)

10. University of Chicago (8)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education May 11, 2018: London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

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London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

By Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

University College London, Flickr

Brexit is no longer a liability for British universities. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the company behind the World University Rankings, released their fifth annual QS Best Student Cities index on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, with London, England at the top for the first time. London replaces Montreal, Canada, who was the top city in 2017, while in the previous ranking Paris, France was the best city. This year sees a decline in North American cities, especially American ones, where President Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant policies have become a bigger issue than Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.

London is home to 17 universities including high ranking top universities; the Imperial College, University College London, the London School of Economics and King’s College. A cultural and historical city, London has a high concentration of “museums, theatres, restaurants, and cinemas.” The rich cultural aspect is inviting for students but also increases the opportunities for research. Job opportunities are plentiful and as a diverse international city, foreign students feel welcome. Although London ranked high in all factors except one affordability; the city has a high cost of living but one worth for students.

Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS, commented on their new top city, saying, “The 2018 ranking highlights the enduring quality of the student experience available in London. The city benefits from outstanding employment prospects, more world-class universities than any other city, and enviable lifestyle opportunities. These factors mean that the capital remains a great place to study despite eye-watering costs – as more than 50,000 student respondents to QS’s survey have made clear.”

Last year’s best city, Montreal, Quebec fell to fourth place this year but still remains the top and only North American city in the top ten. Montreal is still tops for “best overall in student experience, and best city in which to remain after graduation.” Montreal has four universities and 150,000 students. The Canadian city has consistently been in QS’ top eight cities since the ranking started.

In second place is Tokyo, Japan as Asian universities continue to rank higher in world university rankings; Japan moves up from seven. In third place is Melbourne, Australia, moving up two from fifth place the first of two Australian cities in the top ten. In fifth place is former top student city, Paris; the city of lights continues its descent, where last year it was in second place.

In the second half of the top ten is Munich, German one of two German cities in the top 10. Munich moves up to sixth from ninth. The second top 10 German city is Berlin coming in seventh down only one from last year. In eight place is Zurich, Switzerland, who enters the top ten from number 15, along with ninth place Sydney, Australia, moving up from number 13. Rounding out the top 10 is Seoul, South Korea, which moves down from fourth place in 2017.

Despite only ranking at number 13, Toronto, Canada ranks the best in terms of desirability which consists of safety, pollution, and quality of living. Toronto ranks second in Canadian student cities, behind Montreal. Meanwhile, Vancouver, British Columbia falls even out if the top ten to number 17.

American cities fare the worst, with none in the top ten. This is despite the fact that in QS World University Rankings American universities capture nearly all of the top ten including the top four spots. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the ranking, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University in third and the California Institute for Technology (Caltech) in fourth. Although MIT and Harvard are in Boston, Massachusetts, the only American school in the 2017 ranking it falls this year to 14, while the only other American city in the top 30 is New York at number 18. American cities saw declines across the board in “Affordability, Employer Activity, and Student Mix.”

The methodology to determine the list looks at six factors, university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity, affordability. A seventh factor was added in 2017, student view, a global “survey of students and recent graduates.” QS surveys 50,000 students, and looks past 489 universities cities, ranking only the top 100.

QS World University Rankings was originally a collaboration between the education and career company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with the Times Higher Education (THE) to create a world university ranking in 2003. For five years their World University Rankings list was published on THE, with QS supplying the data. In 2010, Times Higher Education decided to break off the partnership and pair up with Thomson Reuters to produce their ranking list. The decision was mostly because of the heavy reliance on using peer reviews to determine the rankings. The QS World University Rankings first appeared in its present format in 2010.

Best Student Cities 2018

1. London 3
2. Tokyo 7
3. Melbourne 5
4. Montreal 1
5. Paris 2
6. Munich 9
7. Berlin 6
8. Zurich 15
9. Sydney 13
10. Seoul 4

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

May 4, 2018: Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

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Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

When a bachelors degree has become the standard to get a good job, one location in the North American continent lags behind in their high school graduation rate. Only 64 percent of public high school students graduate in the Canadian province of Quebec according to The Institut du Quebec studyreleased on Tuesday, May 1, 2018,, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and HEC Montréal. Mia Homsy, the director of the Institut du Québec co-wrote the study with economist Simon Savard. While the number only rises to 69 percent when private school students are counted. The study looked at the graduation rates for students that complete their studies within a five-year period divided between public and private schools and overall going back to 2008 through 2015. When looking at the public school numbers Quebec, it has the lowest graduation rate in the entire continent, Canada, and the United States.

Quebec’s high school system is different than anywhere else in Canada and the US. Students start in grade seven or second one and go to grade 11 or secondary 5, a full grade less than us the norm. This is because before entering university in the province, high school graduates are required to attend a junior college called Cegep where they can take either the pre-university stream or a career diploma. Additionally, Quebec’s school system is not only divided by public or private or in the US charter schools but by language where students either go to an English or French system, with the majority in the French as it is the provinces official language. The graduation rates are greatly affected by the language disparities.

The study found that in Quebec that the overall graduation rate was between 68 and 69 percent, with 64 percent graduating within five years in the public school system and nearly 84 percent from private schools. In the last ten years, Quebec’s rates have dropped from 65 to 64 percent, while neighboring province Ontario’s rate increased from 72 to 84 percent. Ontario has instituted a number of reforms that have contributed to their increased rate including starting school at four-years-old while making attendance mandatory until 18 the age of students graduating grade 12 and requiring teachers to continue their education. During high school, they have made it easier for students who fail to redo just a part of the subject with a credit-recovery program. They also have a hands-on learning program and the option to take specialized courses, which keeps students interested. Students are the most at risk of dropping out in grades 9 and 10.

Quebec argues that they have determined their graduation rate is 71 percent for 2014 according to their calculations. They are also objecting to the comparisons with Ontario. One of the reasons is the different marks required to pass in Quebec it is 60 percent versus 50 percent in Ontario. Education Minister Sébastien Proulx was angered by the report. Proulx told the press, “I’m not saying these distinctions justify anything. What I’m saying is that you have to compare apples to apples.”

The overall public high school graduation rate for Canada is 77 percent. The graduation rate in Quebec is 8 percent lower than the next province Saskatchewan, whose rate is 72 percent. In addition to Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick all have an 84 percent graduation rate. Canada and its provinces all pale to the graduation rates in the US. High school graduation rates in the US have reached an all-time high, in the 2014-15 year, the same last year in the Canadian study, the rate was 83.2 percent for public high school graduates who complete their studies in the normal four-year period. There numbered have been rising in the US for the last five years reported. The highest rate was in Iowa with 90.8 percent, while the lowest was in the District of Columbia at 68.5 percent, which was still four points higher than Quebec’s public school rate. The rate increased to 84 percent in 2016.

Unlike in the United States where graduation rates are determined more by poverty, in Quebec language, gender and disability are the factors that are lowering the rate. Only half of the boys that go to high school graduate. The biggest problem is with male students, where only 51.4 percent graduate within five years as of 2014. Quebec public schools have the largest disparity between the genders, 14 percent, with 71 percent of females compared to 57 percent of males graduating by the time they are 18. The national average in Canada of students, who complete their studies by age 19 since there is a grade 12, is 81 percent of females, and 71 percent of males. While in Ontario, it’s 87 percent of females and 82 percent of males graduating high school.

The numbers shrink in Quebec, when looking at the students graduating on time, to 67 percent of females and only 51 percent of male students. The differences increase when comparing the school language systems. In the Anglophone board, there are the largest graduation rates in the public system with 80 percent of female students and 70 percent of males. Proulx also believes French parents are not emphasizing the importance of education enough which is why students do fare as well in the Francophone schools. The education minister told the press, “We need people to get involved. Historically, on the francophone side, yes we’ve had school dropouts but there is also a parental-dropout problem. It is not valorized enough. We have to look at ourselves in the eye as a society.”

Disabilities is another factor. While only 31 percent of students with disabilities graduate although they represent 30 percent of all students in the province. Special needs students also face a gender disparity with 70 percent being males. One of the problems leading todropouts is the province does not mainstream the students enough.

One of the reasons that the rate is so low in public schools is because the provincial government continues to cut their funding, with 1.5 billion less in the budget from 2010 to 2016. Quebec spends less on its students than Ontario. The teachers’ union Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) commented to the press, “How could the authors of the report claim that the chronic underfunding of the public school system in Quebec hasn’t hurt Quebec students.” The federation represents 34,000 teachers. The teachers saying they are teaching with austerity measures. This is despite the province investing 1.8 billion to increase the graduation rate to 85 by 2030.

The co-author of the study and the director of the Institut du Québec, Mia Homsy thinks Quebec needs to do more or else they will continue to lag behind. Homsy told the Globe and Mail, “We have to do a better job of following our students, we have to rethink every decision we’ve made in the past decade. Something’s not working but nobody knows what the problem is. It’s a black box. And as long as advanced data are lacking, Quebec’s long-term efforts to catch up will be incomplete.” Among the basic suggestions, Quebec needs to cut class sizes, make kindergarten for four-year-olds olds mandatory, integrate special needs students, and keep better records of data for starters.

Although, high school students in Quebec do not complete their studies in five years, most eventually receive it. Within seven years the graduation rate is 80 percent and among those aged 25 to 34, 89 percent have a degree. Still, Quebec is behind British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, where the provinces have a 93 percent high school graduation rate by 34-years-old. However, the later one completes their studies the fewer opportunities for higher education and reaching one’s earning potential. Quebec has one consolation, the dropout rate has decreased from 20 percent in 1999-2000 to 12 percent in 2015.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 17, 2018: McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

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McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are getting some support from their professors in their fight with the administration over sexual misconduct by professors in the Faculty of Arts. About 150 professors signed an open letter and sent it to administration officials on Monday, April 16, 2018, supporting the students’ grievances against the administration. The letter comes after the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) published an open letter demanding an external investigation, and staged a walkout protesting the administrations’ inaction over the misconduct of five professors in the Faculty of Arts. Tomorrow, Tuesday April 17, McGill students will be hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the issue.

The 148 professors made it clear that they support the SSMU’s call for an external investigation, their timeline to have it completed by June and the establishment of a single sexual violence policy covering both misconducts by students and faculty. The professors, who signed came from all the university’s faculties, not just Arts. They declared, “We stand in support of the students who have come forward with their experiences and with the student representatives and advocates who have supported these students.”

The professors wrote in the letter, “As teachers, we have a commitment to upholding a learning environment where students feel safe, supported and able to challenge themselves. It would be in violation of this duty for us not to add our voices to those of the students.” The professors also acknowledged that professor-student relationships should be prohibited. They wrote, “We believe that sexual relationships between students and faculty who are in a position to influence their academic and professional progress should be banned.”

The professors also reminded the administration that the issue affects the entire McGill community and the universities reputation. The professors pointed out to the administration, they have to “publicly acknowledge the fact that this issue affects the entire McGill community and the university’s reputation.”

The professors claim that the university has to keep in check professors that abuse their power because it also affects other faculty members. They indicated, “The lack of transparency concerning how complaints are handled against faculty members, who abuse their positions of power in this way, creates a toxic work and learning environment, and often places an invisible burden on other faculty members.”

History professor Shannon Fitzpatrick spoke to CBC News about the faculty’s open letter. Fitzpatrick finds it troubling that the administration is ignoring students complaints. Fitzpatrick told CBC, the administration is “actively shutting down a line of communication. That to me goes against the university’s mission of critical inquiry into social problems.”

Last Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexually violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

Two weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published an open letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts.

McGill students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. They are also demanding McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; they act by Monday, April 23, or the SSMU will file a complaint at the Quebec Ministry of Education that McGill is in violation of Bill 151, the law requiring a single sexual assault policy for Quebec universities.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions among both the students and faculty. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok. The McGill Daily in their article, “We have always known about McGill’s predatory professors” wrote that the survey they conducted confirmed decades of sexual misconduct and that students have used a word-of-mouth system. The Daily sent out this survey April 9, receiving “dozens” of testimonies from the word-of-mouth system going back to 2008 according to the article. Unfortunately, professors have been blurring the lines for many years before at McGill, and there have been more than the five at the heart of students’ protests now.

Students have been writing anonymous accounts of the misconduct for years in the Daily. This past year, however, the protests are louder because one of the accused professors are up for tenure, which led to student letters to his department and a grassroots protest movement this past fall semester.

Despite the knowledge of the misconduct, students, however, are and have been discouraged from filing complaints by the Faculty of Arts. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships. Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power.

Tomorrow students are going to continue their protest with a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting will allow students “to share stories, concerns, thoughts and questions” and to discuss what else the SSMU can do to convince the administration to act. The event is closed to the public and the media, and can only be attended by current McGill undergraduate and graduate students.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 11, 2018: McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

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McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are taking their protest to professors’ inappropriate behavior going unchecked to the next level. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexual violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

The Facebook event entitled, “McGill and Concordia Student Walk-Out over Handling Complaints” stated the united protest’s purpose, “We all demand an acknowledgment of the extent of the problem. And we demand change.” The hashtags for the walkout was #EnoughisEnough and #NoMoreOpenSecrets, referring to the five professors, whose misconduct is called an open secret among students and other faculty members. Students chanted, “we will not be silenced” and “this will not blow over.”

The students also held up eye-catching signs, which read, “Who are you protecting?” and “Do you care about survivors?” Many had common taglines from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual violence and harassment including, “Enough is enough,” “Time’s up,” and “No More Secrets.” Other signs eluded to the professors’ misconduct, saying, “No I don’t want to go office hours at Gerts,” the bar in McGill’s student society building, where one of the accused professors holds his office hours.

Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has been leading the calls and protests against the professors’ misconduct. Spencer spoke to the crowd and asked them, “Can everyone here who has been warned or heard of an abusive professor during their time here please raise their hand.” Practically everyone present raised their hands, to which she replied: “That, is why we are here today.”

Last Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published a letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts and they are demanding a third-party investigation to look at complaints for there past five years and for McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”
Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok, while students are being discouraged from filing complaints. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships, Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power. This past January at Concordia University, former students, and graduates of the school’s creative writing program came forward against four professors without tenure with allegations going back two decades. The university acted swiftly and dismissed three of the living professors, then launched an investigation. Within two weeks the university issued guidelines on how to deal with professor-student relationships acknowledging there is a “conflict of interest” and an “imbalance of power.” Despite decisive action now, Concordia students have been complaining for years, writing a letter in 2015, that the administration ignored, while students feared these professors harassment and predatory behavior.

Spencer told CBC’s Daybreak why the SSMU wanted Concordia students involved. Speaking to host Mike Finnerty, Spencer said, “I think McGill is trying to work within its own bubble. That’s why it’s important we bring Concordia, and what happened on their campus, to our campus.” Asma Mushtaq, academic and advocacy coordinator for the Concordia Student Union spoke to the Montreal Gazette why it was important to get involved. Mushtaq told them, “Concordia has allowed for open secrets to persist and fester for too long.”

The two universities’ students have different requests of their respective administrations. At McGill, students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; the act or they will ask the Quebec Ministry of Education to intervene.

At Concordia, where an investigation is already underway, the students want to be involved and their voices heard. They also wanted recommendations from the independent Our Turn Report included in Concordia’s revised sexual violence policy. The report graded the sexual assault policies at different campuses with recommendations.

McGill’s administration has yet to respond to the SSMU’s latest tactics. Concordia’s officials were quicker to comment. The statement claimed that they do want student input in the investigation, and wants them to participate “through any avenues open to them,” saying their “Their input is vital to the work we are doing.” McGill’s Spencer, however, said it best in thanking students, who walked out today, declaring, “This is not over,” as much as professors and administration officials want, the students are not going to continue to live in fear as certain professors continue their abuse of power and hunt for their next victim among the student body.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 4, 2018: Too many Ph.Ds not enough jobs why academia needs to be more selective

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EDUCATIO

Too many Ph.Ds, not enough jobs, why academia needs to be more selective

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

As students receive in their acceptance letters and notifications for the upcoming academic year, and universities post a high number of applications and lower acceptance rates for undergraduate study, how do these trends affect graduate studies? For years already there have been reports on the oversupply of doctoral students while tenure-track university jobs shrink. Is it time for graduate studies to take a page from undergraduate trends and accept fewer students at the graduate level?

There are widespread problems with both the way these programs are run and with the students enrolled. Former Harvard University president Derek Bok lamented on the problems in doctoral study in the United States in a November 2013 article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “We Must Prepare Ph.D. Students for the Complicated Art of Teaching.” Bok described the worst offenses, “Graduate schools can justly be condemned as the worst-designed and worst-administered of any major academic program in our research universities. There are far too many Ph.D. programs, many of them of mediocre quality. Dropout rates are embarrassingly high. More than 40 percent of graduate students fail to earn doctorates within 10 years, a number far greater than in other advanced degree programs. Students take too long to finish, with almost 30 percent in the social sciences and 40 percent in the humanities lingering for more than seven years before earning their degrees.”

Doctoral students have a great dissatisfaction with the problems plaguing the Ph.D. process. An article in the Economist in 2010, entitled “Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time The disposable academic” claims, “Some describe their work as “slave labor”. Seven-day weeks, ten-hour days, low pay and uncertain prospects are widespread.”

The article claims that there is a problem with the research doctorate education that is creating an unneeded oversupply. Written in 2010, it claims that in the United States, 64,000 students graduated with doctorates. From 2005 to 2009, 100,000 received doctorates, but there were only 16,000 professorship positions open. The Economist writes, “an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of Ph.D. positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.”

The article claims one of the reasons universities continue these programs is because they provide cheap labor in the university, in research and teaching. “Universities have discovered that Ph.D. students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labor. With more Ph.D. students they can do more research, and in some countries more teaching, with less money.” Money is the prime motivator for most universities when it comes their doctoral students, from tuition and the cheap labor they provide. The process is disheartening, especially among students that should not be in the programs, to begin with.

One of the main problems is attrition, the longer students take to complete the degree, the more likely they are to drop out. According to the Economist, “Only 57% of doctoral students will have a Ph.D. ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%.” The Economist points out that of those that drop of their doctoral program, most do so early on, but in the humanities, they linger for years, before stopping their degree. The main reasons for stopping include, “Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.”

Leonard Cassuto also looked at the problem and reasons for attrition. In his Chronicle of Higher Education commentary published in July 2013, entitled, “Ph.D. Attrition: How Much Is Too Much?” Cassuto points out that “A disturbing 50 percent of doctoral students leave graduate school without finishing.” Cassuto indicates there are three types of doctoral students. The first type is “those who can’t get it done because they’re not up to the demands of the task.” The second type is “those who have the ability to finish but choose not to,” while the third type completes their degree. Cassuto believes if an academic committee keeps up to standards very few would not complete their degree due to lack of ability, because those accepted would have the skills to do so. He also believes a “well run department” matters in admitting students that are up to the task. The problem is in many lower-tier schools the desperation for students often hinders committees and departments’ admission decisions.

The Economist also had solutions to the attrition problem, mostly incentives and penalties against the professors. According to the Economist, “Measurements and incentives might be changed, too. Some university departments and academics regard numbers of Ph.D. graduates as an indicator of success and compete to produce more. For the students, a measure of how quickly those students get a permanent job, to what they earn, would be more useful. Where penalties are levied on academics who allow PhDs to overrun, the number of students who complete rises abruptly, suggesting that students were previously allowed to fester.”

Lowering the number of graduate student at lower-tier schools might also be an answer. While elite and top-tier universities only accept the students that would be the most successful for the rigors of graduate education, those at lower-tier schools are often not. Despite the overcrowding mostly from lower-ranked schools, they continue accepting too many underqualified students, because if they would not they would go out of business.

On a personal note, recently I had the chance to read the writings of a graduate student at a college whose Political Science department where they were studying did not even rank according to US News and World Report’s graduate school rankings. The writing was hardly graduate-level caliber, the essays were riddled with grammatical and sentence structure errors, and they did not even know the basics of constructing a thesis statement. The student’s work was not even up to the standards expectant of undergraduates at most top-tier colleges and universities. Why were they then in a masters program and had applied for doctoral study for the upcoming year? Why had nobody stopped their studies before? Because the college needed the students and tuition money to continue offering their program. The situation is not unique, it symptomatic of many lower-tier schools and graduate programs.

Doctoral graduates from lower ranked schools face more employment setbacks that their peers at elite top schools and graduate departments. The problem is now years in the making. A December 2012 report proved that graduate of the top doctoral programs is their ones getting the bulk of the available tenure-track positions. The study conducted by Robert Oprisko of Butler University, and published in the Georgetown Public Policy Review entitled, “Superpowers: The American Academic Elite” looked specifically at doctoral graduates from political science programs using 2009 program rankings.

Oprisko determined that only students graduating from top 11 programs where benefitting career-wise after completing their doctorate. The study found that just 20 percent of those receiving tenure-track posts come from the top four schools Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford and top public school and number four, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Oprisko points out in this study that even lower-ranked universities want to hire graduates of the top programs, which Oprisko says, “This practice reinforces the perceived inferiority of their current institution.”

Audrey Williams June writing in a December 2012, Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “Ph.D.’s From Top Political-Science Programs Dominate Hiring, Research Finds” explained the findings. Williams June wrote, “The median institutional ranking of institutions in the study is 11, which Mr. Oprisko said implies that 11 institutions contributed half of the political scientists who filled tenured or tenure-track positions at research-intensive universities in the United States. That means that graduates of the more than 100 other political-science programs competed for the remaining 50 percent of job openings.” Oprisko finds “Students who come from less-prestigious institutions don’t really get a chance.”

Oprisko notes, according to Diane Rubenstein of Cornell “the perception is that good students only come from a handful of schools.” Justice Clarence Thomas takes issue with this perception, holding that graduates from schools ranked lower are not “third-tier trash.” Sometimes, however, lower standards from these schools both at the school and program level fosters third-rate doctorate.

Leonard Cassuto also looked at the academic prestige of doctorate graduate at top-tier schools and program then questioned “What Are Low-Ranked Graduate Programs Good For?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2013. To Cassuto it is graduating from the top 40 ranked programs which matter, writing “Political scientists, like AM-radio disc jockeys of old, prize the top 40.” Cassuto indicates programs outside the elite are defensive and he had an email from a director at a regionals school that argued, “As a Research, I University, our students, for the most part, are very much interested in continuing to do research.” At that point, she blamed the economy for their graduates being overlooked in the job market.

Many graduates of lower-tier programs often end up in jobs outside of academia or as teachers in community colleges or other teaching-only institutions. The problem is most of the lower -tier schools are in denial as to the prospects of their students’ careers and do not emphasize teaching in their programs. Cassuto also notes that programs outside the top 40 who should be emphasizing teaching for their doctoral students but do not, instead they follow the top 40 model to the detriment of their doctoral students. Schools outside the top 100 are usually teaching intensive and realize it, favoring graduates, who are generalists focused on teaching as opposed to research. As Cassuto recounts one graduate director at a lower-ranked regional school confessed their programs emphasized teaching, “because we know our place.”

Bok notes the problems undergraduate are having with learning basic skills and remaining engaged. Bok recounts “Among the recent discoveries, investigators have found that college students are not making as much progress as most people have assumed in mastering essential skills such as writing and critical thinking.” For Bok, the problem could be solved by teaching doctoral students how to teach.

As academia and critics look to teaching as an answer to the overflow of doctorates, the question remains how can doctorates who barely were qualified at the onset teach the next generation of students in a field. If desperate universities populate their graduate programs with unqualified students, how can these same people after completing a doctorate rectify the writing and critical thinking problems undergraduates face.

Cassuto believes part of the solution involves accepting less doctoral students, but not so few that it again breeds elitism from the top universities and program as in the past. In his December 2012, Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “What If We Made Fewer Ph.D.’s?” he believes programs need to find the “right size” and altering their instruction for alternative jobs for doctorates outside academia.

Academia at any level is still a business, and they are operating as such ignoring the perpetual problem they are creating, so-called experts, where many had inferior marks, writing and analytical skills as they entered their programs. The myriad of problems graduate students face during their doctoral could be eliminated if lower-tier graduate program filled their classes not just with students who fulfilled the basic requirements, but by having the same standards as top-tier students. They need to be either be more selective or eliminate their programs if they can not fill them with qualified students, that it’s the only way to end the oversupply of mediocre doctorates. A graduate degree needs to go back to being awarded to the best and brightest because a degree at that level is not a right, but a privilege.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 30, 2018: Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn’s acceptance rates for Class of 2022 most selective year on record 

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EDUCATION

Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn’s acceptance rates for Class of 2022 most selective year on record

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

It is Ivy League decision day. Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2018, between 3 and 7 pm, the Ivy League universities sent out acceptances as thousands of anxious high school seniors found out if they would join the scholarly elite. Late Thursday afternoon Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University released their acceptance data for the Class of 2022 regular admission cycle. All the Ivy League continued the trend towards record low acceptance rates after receiving record high application numbers. Harvard was the most selective, while Cornell was the least. Students have until May 1, to notify the colleges of their decision.

The following is the Ivy League Class of 2022 acceptance data:

Brown University

Brown University sent out only 1,742 offers of admissions out a historic high of 35,438 applications to the Class of 2022.Their acceptance rate was 7.2 percent overall, while the regular admission cycles rate was only 5.5 percent. In December 2017, Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year.

For the Class of 2021, Brown had an 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

Columbia University

For the Class of 2022, Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s acceptance rate fell nearly a third of a percentage point from last year to 5.5 percent. The college admitted only 2,214 applicants. Like the rest of the Ivy League, Columbia received a record number of applications this year, 40,203 combined, early and regular admission cycles, 8 percent more than for the Class of 2021.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, instead of releasing their early decision data, Columbia University only released the number of applications they received this cycle. This year Columbia received 4,085 early decision applications to Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, just one less than for the Class of 2021.
For the Class of 2021, Columbia College had a lower acceptance rate, representing just 5.8 percent of their applicant pool. Columbia admitted just 2,185 from a record 37,389 applicants.
Cornell

For the Class of 2022, Cornell University admitted 5,288 students out of 51,328 applications; a new record high for the college. Additionally, Cornell waitlisted 6,684 students. The acceptance was also the college’s lowest at 10.3 percent, while it might be a new low for Cornell, but it is the highest in the Ivy League.

For the Class of 2021, Cornell University had one of the largest acceptance rates of all the Ivies with 12.5 percent. Cornell admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a waitlist. In December 2016, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College had a record year for the Class of 2022, they had the lowest acceptance rate, the highest number of applications in “five years” and accepted the least amount of students since the 1990s. Dartmouth accepted 1,925 students out of 22,033 applications making for an acceptance rate of only 8.7 percent.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, out of a record number of applications, 2,270 applications. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision, 558 have already enrolled.

Last year, Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent. In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

Harvard University

Harvard College will keep its crown as the most selective school in the Ivy League for the Class of 2022. The college beat its own record clocking in a 4.59 percent acceptance rate lower by nearly a half a percentage point from the Class of 2021’s 5.2 percent rate. As the Harvard Crimson noted, “This year marks the first time Harvard’s admission rate has ever dipped below 5 percent.”

Harvard admitted only 1,962 students out of their record 42,749 applications. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.” Of those admitted 998 receiving regular cycle offers of admission, which was according to the Harvard Crimson “2.43 percent of the total 36,119 regular decision applicants, plus the 4,882 students deferred in the early action process.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m., Harvard admitted just 964 students to early action out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program.

In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021.

Princeton University

For the Class of 2022, Princeton University has the second lowest acceptance of all the Ivies, only behind Harvard College. The rate of 5.5 percent is a record-low and more than half percentage point less than for the Class of 2021. Princeton admitted a total of 1,941 students, 1,142 just this regular admission cycle out of the record 35,370 applications, 14 percent higher than applied for the Class of 2021. Additionally, 1,125 students were waitlisted, normally the university accepts between 18 to 101 students from that list.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 high school seniors for the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was just 6.1 percent. The university admitted 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program.

University of Pennsylvania

For the Class of 2022, The University of Pennsylvania had a record 44,482 applicants but only accepted 3,371 students. The acceptance rate was 8.39 percent, a new low for the university.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m., Penn sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent. Penn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program.

Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 22 percent acceptance rate.

Yale University

For the Class of 2022, Yale College lowered their acceptance rate to 6.31 percent after increasing the rate and number of students for the Class of 2021. Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that it accepted 2,229 students from a “record” 35,306 applications they received this year, which was a 7.3 percent increase in applications. Additionally, 1,102 applicants were waitlisted, however, the college is uncertain whether any on the list will be offered admission.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022 of their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications.

Yale admitted 1,550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that opened this past fall.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Dartmouth has a record year, admits the lowest number to Class of 2022 with 8.7 percent acceptance rate

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EDUCATION

Dartmouth has a record year, admits the lowest number to Class of 2022 with 8.7 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Dartmouth College notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. This year was a record year for Dartmouth, they had the lowest acceptance rate, the highest number of applications in “five years” and accepted the least amount of students since the 1990s. Dartmouth accepted 1,925 students out of 22,033 applications making for an acceptance rate of only 8.7 percent.

Dartmouth College had a larger increase in applications than most of the Ivies, jumping 9.8 percent to 22,005 high school senior applying. Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid remarked, “The big increases in this year’s pools reflect the early success of our expanded recruitment and the new communications plan we have adopted. We have refocused our message to emphasize excellence in teaching and undergraduate access to outstanding teacher-scholars—and students are responding. While the quantity has risen, so has the quality of this year’s applicant pool.”

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, the smallest number of students of all the Ivy League schools. The college received a record number of applications, 2,270 applications, the first time the school had over 2,000 applications for the early admissions cycle. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent; still, that percentage was the largest of all the Ivies. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision, 558 have already enrolled.

Last year, Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth called last year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.” In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

Dartmouth also decided to release the academic profile of the accepted students, not just demographics. Of those accepted “97 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school class,” last year it 96 percent. While the “Mean SAT and ACT scores are 1497 for SATs — a record high — and 33 for ACTs.”

The class is diverse both socio-economically and geographically. The accepted students include an increase in first-generation college students up to 15 percent. Students of color represent half the class, and a majority, 59 percent will graduate from a public high school or charter school.

As with other Ivies, Dartmouth succeeded in attracting lower-income students with their financial aid packages. A majority of the students, 60 percent will apply to financial aid. As the Dartmouth reports, “The College expects to offer around $28 million in need-based scholarships after financial aid awards are finalized.”

Geographically, the students come from all 50 states and the territories. The most predominant states are “California, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Texas. There is a significant international contingent with 11 percent of the students coming from 65 countries. The majority come from “Brazil, Canada, China, India and the United Kingdom.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Cornell has record-low acceptance rate of 10.3 percent for the Class of 2022

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EDUCATION

Cornell has record-low acceptance rate of 10.3 percent for the Class of 2022

Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Cornell Admissions Twitter)

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Cornell University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. This year Cornell admitted 5,288 students out of 51,328 applications; a new record high for the college. Additionally, Cornell waitlisted 6,684 students. The acceptance was also the college’s lowest at 10.3 percent, while it might be a new low for Cornell, but it is one of the highest in the Ivy League.

For the Class of 2021, Cornell University had one of the largest acceptance rates of all the Ivies with 12.5 percent. Cornell admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a waitlist. For the Class of 2020, Cornell had a 13.96% acceptance rate with 6,277 students accepted out of 44,966 applicants. In December 2016, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

Jason C. Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment commended the incoming freshman. Locke told the Cornell Sun, “The exceptionally large applicant pool this year produced a most remarkable class. No doubt Ezra would be proud of the Class of 2022!” While Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost commented, “We have admitted a highly talented and accomplished Class of 2022 who will flourish as Cornellians. We look forward to welcoming them into our campus community.”

Cornell is hailing the incoming class as the “most diverse class in university history.” Students that identify as “underrepresented minorities” constitute 33 percent of the class, a number that has been rising for the last four years. With students of color and Asian-American students, the number jumps to a majority of 54 percent. As with most other of the Ivies, there is a large number of first-generation college students, this year’s class welcomes 700 more to Cornell. Additionally, 60 students will commence their studies in the Spring 2019 semester as part of the colleges First-Year Spring Admission program.

“Geographically,” the class is equally diverse, with students accepted from all 50 states and the territories. Internationally, students are coming from 93 countries and represent 9 percent of the class. The most predominant countries include, “Canada, China, India, South Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Brown admits record-low for the Class of 2022, 7.2 percent acceptance rate

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EDUCATION

Brown admits record-low for the Class of 2022, 7.2 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Brown University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. Brown sent out only 1,742 offers of admissions out a historic high of 35,438 applications to the Class of 2022.Their acceptance rate was 7.2 percent overall, while the regular admission cycles rate was only 5.5 percent.

Brown also saw record number of applications for the Class of 2022, they received 35,368 applications, up 8 percent from the previous year, and the highest increase in the last five years. Dean of Admission Logan Powell lauded the applicants in a statement to the Brown Daily Herald. Powell called those vying to be apart of the Class of 2022 “ as strong as any pool in our history.” Powell commended the students, saying, “We continue to be humbled by the incredible talent and diversity of perspective represented in the applicant pool.”

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year. Although Brown has, a higher acceptance rate than the Ivy League schools, it was a low for them, and Brown’s acceptance rate was only 21 percent for the Class of 2022.

Brown set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. Last year, Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

Dean Powell praised the incoming class’ qualifications. Powell told the Brown Daily Herald, “There were just so many incredibly qualified students in the applicant pool. We could probably admit three classes of students who are enormously academically qualified from the group of applicants we had.” Powell attributes the high number of applications and the lower acceptance rate to “the Brown Promise initiative, the addition of another A Day on College Hill program and the doubling of travel grants.”

For the Class of 2022, Brown revamped their financial aid now calling it the Brown Promise Initiative. As of the next academic year, students will no longer have loans, but grants for financial aid, making Brown more affordable. In the past two years, 65 percent of the Classes of 2021 and 2022 have or intend to apply for aid.

The incoming class will also be the most diverse socio-economically and geographically. Nearly half 49 percent “identify as students of color,” last year only 47 identified. Unlike the rest of the Ivies there will actually be less first generation college students than the previous year, with 13 percent of the class.

Geographically, the admitted students come from only 48 states, predominantly “California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas.” There is an increase in international students up to 11 percent, coming fro 76 countries, with the most coming from “China, India, the United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Princeton accepts record-low for the Class of 2022, 5.5 percent acceptance rate

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Princeton accepts record-low for the Class of 2022, 5.5 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Princeton University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. Princeton has the second lowest acceptance of the Ivies, only behind Harvard College. The rate of 5.5 percent is a record-low and more than half percentage point less than for the Class of 2021.

Princeton admitted a total of 1,941 students, 1,142 just this regular admission cycle out of the a record 35,370 applications, 14 percent higher than applied for the Class of 2021. Additionally, 1,125 students were wait listed, normally the university accepts between 18 to 101 students from that list.

Of all the Ivies, Princeton saw the greatest increase in applications and the only one above 10 percent. There were 35,386 high school seniors vying a place in Princeton’s Class of 2022, an increase of 14 percent than from the previous year. To demonstrate just how many more applications Princeton received this cycle the Daily Princetonian noted that in 2008, when students applied for the Class of 2012 there were only 13,695 applications, making a 158 percent increase in applications in the past 10 years.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was at that point “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program.

Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye commended the incoming class and all the applicants. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “The Admissions Committee was extremely impressed with the academic quality of all the candidates [for admission], especially those who were admitted.”

Princeton was the only Ivy to indicate the academic profile of the students that applied. As the Princetonian explained, “The applicant pool included 14,273 students had high school GPAs of 4.0, and 17,692 — 50 percent of the total applicant pool — had combined SAT scores of 1400 or higher out of a possible 1600.” Most of the applicants took either the ACT or new SAT, including the writing component, which is still required for applying.

The class is diverse both geographically and socio-economically. Those accepted, however, come from only 48 states, but also the territories, the majority of those accepted come from “New Jersey, California and New York.” The number of international students also increased, with 77 countries represented.

Princeton, like the Ivy League schools, are increasing their financial aid initiatives to appeal to low-income students. Rapelye contributes it to the reason behind the large recording breaking number of applications. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “[That growth] exceeded our expectations. Our outreach to low income backgrounds, students who may be working with community-based organizations, and to schools we haven’t had applicants from before may have contributed. Our financial aid process is generous, and, we believe, second to none.”

There were more first generation college students, representing 17 percent of the incoming class, and 64.5 percent came from public schools. Additionally, Princeton accepted 11.2 percent of students who are “legacy” the children of Princeton graduates, and recruited athletes compromise 11.6 percent of those accepted. Princeton hopes to enroll 1,296 freshmen in the fall semester. Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Yale admits fewer students to the Class of 2022, lowers acceptance rate to 6.31 percent 

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Yale admits fewer students to the Class of 2022, lowers acceptance rate to 6.31 percent

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Yale College notified the Class of 2022 of the admission decisions. After last year when Yale became the only Ivy to increase their acceptance rate, now Yale is reversing the trend and their rate was lowered to 6.31 percent. Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that it accepted 2,229 students from a “record” 35,306 applications they received this year. Additionally, 1,102 applicants were wait listed, however, the college is uncertain whether any on the list will be offered admission.

For the Class of 2022, Yale saw the largest increase in applications for their college in the last five years, with 35,305 applications and rising 7.3 percent since the Class of 2021. As the Yale Daily News explains, “Last year, the number of applications rose around 5 percent from 31,439 for the Class of 2020 to 32,891 for the Class of 2021. Before that, the number of applications rose by 4 percent, from 30,227 for the Class of 2019.” In the five years applications have increased by 19 percent.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022 of their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications.

Yale admitted 1,550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. Yale admitted fewer students than last year’s early admission. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent.

Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. In previous years, Yale used to receive only about 4,700 applications each early admission cycle. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that opened this fall.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan commented on the quality and diversity of the incoming class. Quinlan told the Yale Daily News, “All of our admissions officers continue to be impressed with and humbled by the number of highly qualified applicants in our pool. We’re thrilled that the expansion of Yale College has allowed us to offer admission to such a large number of students from such a variety of backgrounds.”

This past fall the college opened to new residential colleges, Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin and plan to accept more students each year as a result. Yale hopes to have 800 more students attending by the time the Class of 2024 is admitted. The college’s expansion goes against the trend of the other Ivies, who are accepting less students and having lowering acceptance rates. Yale plans on having 1,550 freshman enroll in the fall.

Yale is also touting the incoming class as more diverse, with more minorities and lower-income students accepted. Geographically, it also as diverse with students coming from all 50 states and the territories and internationally from 64 countries.

Scott Wallace-Juedes, director of undergraduate financial aid told the Daily News, “Last year Yale was able to offer need-based financial aid awards to more incoming first years than ever before with the expansion of Yale College. My colleagues and I look forward to working with the admitted students to the class of 2022 to ensure that cost of attendance is not a barrier for any admitted student when considering Yale.” Students have until May 1, to notify the college of their decision.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 28, 2018: University of Pennsylvania sets record-low acceptance rate for Class of 2022 of 8.39 percent

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University of Pennsylvania sets record-low acceptance rate for Class of 2022 of 8.39 percent

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League admissions day, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. the University of Pennsylvania notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. As with other Ivies, Penn saw their number of applications rise and their acceptance rate plummet. Penn had a record 44,482 applicants, but only accepted 3,371 students. The acceptance rate was 8.39 percent a new low for the university, but a higher rate than most of the other Ivies

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent.

The acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 early admission is the lowest in the school’s history, still, the university did not actually admit that much fewer students than last year. Penn admitted 1,312 students this year and last year they accepted 1,354 students. Penn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program. As the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian noted, “Last year approximately 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.”

Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 22 percent acceptance rate.

Dean of Admissions Eric Furda commented on the incoming Class of 2022, saying “We are thrilled about the possibility of these students joining our community, brining their intellectual curiosities, analytical minds and collaborative spirits to enrich our campus. We can’t wait to meet them.”

With the rise in applications, there is an increase in acceptances in every demographic group. The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that “one in seven admitted students” are first-generation college students, last year it was one in eight. There is also an increase in the number of low-income students, as the university’s “Board of Trustees increased the financial aid budget by 5.3 percent,” giving Penn their “largest financial aid budget in history.”

The students come from all fifty states and the territories. As the Daily Pennsylvanian notes they come predominantly from “Washington D.C. Puerto Rico and Guam. Pennsylvania, New York, California, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas.” More international students were accepted as well up 6 percent and representing 104 countries. Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 27, 2018: Ivy League colleges Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth see record number of applications for Class of 2022 

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Ivy League colleges Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth see record number of applications for Class of 2022

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

More high school seniors are taking a chance at their dream of attending an Ivy League university. Five of the Ivies released their application data for the Class of 2022; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth. All saw application increases between 7 and 14 percent, pushing them to all break their previous records. Harvard had 42,742 applications, up 8.2 percent, Yale had 35,305 applications, up 7.3 percent, Brown had 35,368 applications, up 8 percent and Dartmouth with 22,005 applications up 9.8 percent. Princeton, however, saw the biggest increase in applications with up 14 percent. Three of the Ivies; Cornell, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania did not release their data. Increase in financial aid packages at the Ivies are attracting the record number of applicants with more minority and low-income students.

Harvard University

This past cycle, Harvard saw a record number of applications with 42,742 students applying. The college credits the increase on their financial aid packages and consideration for more low-income students applying. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.”
Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, William R. Fitzsimmons explained how unique their aid program is for students. The dean said, “Harvard’s revolutionary financial aid initiative (HFAI), begun 15 years ago and enhanced since then, led the way again this year in attracting students of excellence from throughout the nation and around the world.

Applications have doubled since the inception of the program — and each year more and more students are excited to learn that Harvard is open to outstanding students from all economic backgrounds.”
For the majority, Harvard’s cost of tuition and fees is almost the same as public universities, because of their financial aid program. As the Gazette indicates, “More than half of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid, and the average grant is $53,000.” Students with families that make up to $150,000, pay only “10 percent or less of their annual incomes.” There are even allowances in certain cases for students whose families annual incomes are above that amount.

Students coming from the lower income brackets earning less than $65,000 a year can now access a “start-up” grant of $2,000 to help them as they start their studies. The Gazette pointed out for the Class of 2022, “Preliminary measures of economic diversity among applicants rose, with 75.5 percent applying for aid and 25.9 percent requesting an application fee waiver.”

This year’s applicant pool is the most diverse demographically for the college, 50.3 percent are women, there is also a 18.7 percent increase of African-American students, and 14.9 percent more Asian-American student applications. There was also an increase in the number of American students applying from all four regions of the country, but the biggest increase was from the South. International student applications, however, remain the same level as from the Class of 2021.

Yale University

Yale saw the largest increase in applications for their college in the last five years, with 35,305 applications and rising 7.3 percent since the Class of 2021. As the Yale Daily News explains, “Last year, the number of applications rose around 5 percent from 31,439 for the Class of 2020 to 32,891 for the Class of 2021. Before that, the number of applications rose by 4 percent, from 30,227 for the Class of 2019.” In the five years applications have increased by 19 percent.

Yale is trying to “emphasize” that it is not the number of applications, but the calibre and achievements of their applicants That matters. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan, commented to the Daily News, “As always, we do not measure success simply by the number of applications we receive. Quality matters much more to the admissions committee.”

The increase in applicants has been across all demographics especially minority groups. In the last five years, 40 percent more racial and ethnic minorities, who are American citizens and residents applied, and there were 37 percent first-generation college students applying. The number that pleases Associate Director of Admissions Mark Dunn the most is the increase of low-income students, whose numbers have increased by 113 percent. Yale has campaigned to reach out to these “high achieving” students, and this past summer mailed 30,000 incoming high school students emphasizing Yale’s “affordability” with financial aid.

Financial-aid is predominately behind the increase of applications at all the Ivies sand elite universities, but Yale has an additional attraction; two new residential colleges that opened at that start of the academic year. The college accepted 200 more students to the Class of 2021. Dunn commented, “I think this helped inspire more high school students who looked to their graduating peers to consider Yale.”

Brown University

Brown also saw record number of applications for the Class of 2022, they received 35,368 applications, up 8 percent from the previous year.
Dean of Admission Logan Powell lauded the applicants in a statement to the Brown Daily Herald. Powell called those vying to be apart of the Class of 2022 “ as strong as any pool in our history.” Powell commended the students, saying, “We continue to be humbled by the incredible talent and diversity of perspective represented in the applicant pool.”

Although application numbers increased from the Class of 2021 across all demographics they’re was a rise in minorities, first generation and low-income students applying. The largest increase was in the number of students of color applying, with a 16 percent increase, representing 45 percent of all applicants up from 42 percent for the Class of 2021.

There was a 13 percent increase in the number of first generation students applying with 18 percent in total up from 17 percent the previous cycle.
The applicants come from “all 50 states” predominantly “California, New York and Massachusetts.” There it’s also a large international contingent, with applicants from “149 other nations” with the biggest share applying from “China, India, and Canada.” The majority of applicants, 60 percent are women.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College had a larger increase in applications than most of the Ivies, jumping 9.8 percent to 22,005 high school senior applying. Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid remarked, “The big increases in this year’s pools reflect the early success of our expanded recruitment and the new communications plan we have adopted. We have refocused our message to emphasize excellence in teaching and undergraduate access to outstanding teacher-scholars—and students are responding. While the quantity has risen, so has the quality of this year’s applicant pool.”

Princeton University

Of all the Ivies, Princeton saw the greatest increasein applications and the only one above 10 percent. There were 35,386 high school seniors vying a place in Princeton’s Class of 2022, an increase of 14 percent than from the previous year. To demonstrate just how many more applications Princeton received this cycle the Daily Princetonian noted that in 2008, when students applied for the Class of 2012 there were only 13,695 applications, making a 158 percent increase in applications in the past 10 years.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye believes the “University’s expanded outreach” is the reason for the larger numbers. Rapelye told the Princetonian, “We have certainly done more outreach to students in this country and traveled widely throughout the world to make sure that we are reaching qualified students.” As with the other Ivies generous financial aid packages are attracting more lower-income students. Rapelye recounted, “We are working more closely with community-based organizations in cities and national organizations that are working with low-income students.”

The was an increase in applications in all demographic groups, but it was most notable among first generation college students, with 16 percent more applying. This is also the first time since 1990, that Princeton is accepting transfer students; another attempt to reach minorities and low-income students, however only 10 to 12 will accepted. The Class of 2022, however, will be smaller 1296 versus the 1306 accepted last year.

All the Ivy League colleges will notify students of the regular cycle decisions on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and students will have until May 1, to accept or decline the offer of admission. The colleges will still only accept the roughly the same number of students they do each year , and the record high number of applications will only contribute to record low acceptance rates.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 26, 2018: Harvard to stop requiring SAT and ACT writing section for Class of 2023 Admissions

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Harvard to stop requiring SAT and ACT writing section for Class of 2023 Admissions

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Harvard College will no longer require students applying to the college to take the SAT and ACT writing section. Harvard College

It just became easier to apply to Harvard College. Harvard announced on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, that it will no longer require students applying to the college to take the writing section of the SAT and ACT standardized exams used for college admissions. Harvard will look for students applying to submit other forms of writing samples with their applications. Now a majority of Ivy League colleges do not require the writing section.

College spokesperson Rachel Dane told the Harvard Crimson in an emailed statement about the policy change. Dane explained, “Harvard will accept the ACT/SAT with or without writing, starting with the Class of 2023, entering in August 2019. This change will add an additional component to the comprehensive outreach of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), which seeks outstanding students from all economic backgrounds.”

The majority of high school students taking the exam opt for completing the writing portion. More universities, however, are not requiring the essay section. Only 28 schools want the section completed among them three Ivies; Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale. While Ivies, Columbia, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania cease to require the section in 2015. Among the other elite universities the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not require it, but Stanford, the most coveted and selective university still wants applicants to take the writing component.

Removing the exam element is meant to attract more diverse and economically challenged students. The section is an additional cost as the Crimson reports it costs “$14 for the SAT and $16.50 for the ACT, though fee waivers are available for both.”

When the College Board revised the SAT exam they commented on the optional writing section in their official statement. Even the College Board diminished the importance of the section. The Board expressed, “One single essay historically has not contributed significantly to the overall predictive power of the exam. Feedback from hundreds of member admission officers was divided: some respondents found the essay useful, but many did not. The College Board remains steadfast in its commitment to the importance of analytic writing for all students.”

Removing another hurdle with no doubt increase the number of applicants to the most popular Ivy. This past cycle, Harvard saw a record number of applications with 42,742 students applying. The college credits the increase on their financial aid packages and consideration for more low-income students applying. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.”

Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, William R. Fitzsimmons explained how unique their aid program is for students. The dean said, “Harvard’s revolutionary financial aid initiative (HFAI), begun 15 years ago and enhanced since then, led the way again this year in attracting students of excellence from throughout the nation and around the world. Applications have doubled since the inception of the program — and each year more and more students are excited to learn that Harvard is open to outstanding students from all economic backgrounds.”

For the majority, Harvard’s cost of tuition and fees is almost the same as public universities, because of their financial aid program. As the Gazette indicates, “More than half of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid, and the average grant is $53,000.” Students with families that make up to $150,000, pay only “10 percent or less of their annual incomes.” There are even allowances in certain cases for students whose families annual incomes are above that amount.

Students coming from the lower income brackets earning less than $65,000 a year can now access a “start-up” grant of $2,000 to help them as they start their studies. The Gazette pointed out for the Class of 2022, “Preliminary measures of economic diversity among applicants rose, with 75.5 percent applying for aid and 25.9 percent requesting an application fee waiver.”

Removing the writing requirement will only continue the trend of helping students reach their potential and attend Harvard regardless of their economic situation. This year’s applicant pool is the most diverse for the college, 50.3 percent are women, a 18.7 percent increase of African-American students, and 14.9 percent more Asian-American student applications. Harvard will notify the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions on March 28.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 19, 2017: Ivy League, elite schools’ early admission acceptance rates for Class of 2022 MIT has lowest on record, Dartmouth the highest

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Ivy League, elite schools’ early admission acceptance rates for Class of 2022 MIT has lowest on record, Dartmouth the highest

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

As universities and colleges completed sending out their early admissions offers for the Class of 2022 to hopeful high school seniors let us look at the continuing trend of record low acceptance rates among the Ivy League and most elite universities. Only six of the eight Ivy League universities released data on their early decision and early action cycle. Of the Ivies, Cornell University and Columbia University chose to withhold their data; however, Columbia released the number of applications they received. For the second year in a row, Stanford University, the country’s most selective college refused to release any early admission data. Like last year, they will release their data only after the regular admission cycle when they have finalized all their offers for admission to the Class of 2022.

As has been the trend, Ivy League, and elite universities are becoming more selective, and their early admission rates are falling after receiving a record number of applications. This year is no different the Ivy League and elite universities are continuing the trend and are on track for their most selective year as they choose the Class of 2022. Harvard was the most selective Ivy this early admission cycle, with a 14.5 percent acceptance rate. However, another elite university beat Harvard’s selectivity this early admission cycle. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had the lowest rate, with a record low 6.9 percent of applicants accepted to the Class of 2022. Dartmouth College on the opposite end had the highest acceptance rate with 24.9 percent.

The Ivy League:

Brown University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year. Although Brown has, a higher acceptance rate than the Ivy League schools, it was a low for them, and Brown’s acceptance rate was only 21 percent for the Class of 2022.

In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent. Brown set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. Last year Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications.

Columbia University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, instead of releasing their early decision data, Columbia University only released the number of applications they received this cycle. That evening at 7 p.m. Columbia notified high school seniors whether they would be joining the Class of 2022. This year Columbia received 4,085 early decision applications to Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, just one less than for the Class of 2021.

For the Class of 2021, Columbia College had a lower acceptance rate, representing just 5.8 percent of their applicant pool. Columbia admitted just 2,185 from a record 37,389 applicants. For the Class of 2020, Columbia had a 6.04% acceptance rate, with 2,193 students accepted out of 36,292 applicants. Columbia is notorious for divulging the least information of all the Ivies about their incoming freshmen class only releasing more data for the upcoming application year.

Dartmouth College

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, the smallest number of students of all the Ivy League schools. The college received a record number of applications, 2,270 applications, the first time the school had over 2,000 applications for the early admissions cycle. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent; still, that percentage was the largest of all the Ivies. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision.

In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent. Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth called last year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.”

Harvard University

Harvard College notified students by email on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. if they were accepted to the Class of 2022, rejected or waitlisted. Harvard admitted just 964 students to early action out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college, and the elite Stanford University only beats it in the country.

In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021. Their admissions represented just 14.5 percent of the applicant pool down only 0.3 percent from 2015. In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. Harvard admitted nearly the same percentage of early applicants as last year a 14.53 acceptance rate this year versus a 14.49 percent rate last year an addition of less than a half percentage point.

Princeton University

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program. Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants. Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants.

University of Pennsylvania

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent.

The acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 is the lowest in the school’s history, still, the university did not actually admit that much fewer students than last year. Penn admitted 1,312 students this year and last year they accepted 1,354 students. Penn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program. As the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian noted, “Last year approximately 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.”

In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a nearly 24 percent acceptance rate. The university targeted goal of 2,445 students enrolling in the fall. Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.”

Yale University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications. The acceptance rate this early admission cycle was the second lowest of all the Ivies at only 14.7 percent behind Harvard’s 14.5 percent and the same as Princeton’s 14.7 percent.

Yale admitted fewer students than last year’s early admission. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. In previous years, Yale used to receive only about 4,700 applications each early admission cycle. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that are opening this fall. Yale admitted 1550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate.

Elite Universities:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Of all the elite and Ivy League universities that released their early admission data, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had the lowest acceptance rate for the second year in a row. On Thursday, Dec. 14, MIT sent out 664 early action offers of admission to high school seniors for a place in the Class of 2022. This year MIT received a record 9,557 applications, and their acceptance rate was a record low as well at only 6.9 percent. Of those that applied 65 percent, 6,210 students were deferred for the regular cycle, 26.1 percent, 2498 students were rejected; the remaining applicants withdrew from consideration.

For the Class of 2021, In December 2016, MIT had an acceptance rate of 7.8 percent after receiving a then-record 8,394 applications, which had been up 13.9 percent from the previous year. At the regular admission cycle, MIT admitted at 1,438 students out of 20,247 applications received. MIT is one of the most selective colleges, with corresponding acceptance rates. This was the third year MIT opened their early action admissions to international applicants.

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 6, 2017: US high school graduation rates at all-time high

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EDUCATION

US high school graduation rates at all-time high

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

American high school students are focusing on their studies more than ever before and their graduation rates are the highest in history. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released graduation data for the class of 2015–16, which found that 84.1 percent of students graduated in four years the highest rate in American history. The 84 percent was just shy of a percentage point more than the previous year’s rate of 83.2 percent. The numbers continue a five-year trend that saw increases in graduation rates for every demographic group in the country.

According to the data, every group reached their highest graduation rates. Black students’ rates rose 1.8 percent to 76.4, those with English as a second language rose the same amount to 66.9. Hispanic students’ graduation rose also an impressive 1.5 percent to 79.3 percent. Additionally, students from economically challenged background rose the same rate up to a 77.6 percent graduation rate. Native student’s graduation rates also improved to 71.9 percent.

Students with disabilities still, had the lowest graduation rates with only 65.5 percent graduating, proving that more has to be done to help the group graduate. White students, however, were not the demographic group with the highest rates. Despite their 88.3 graduation rate, White students came in second to Asian students who have the nation best rates with 90.8 percent of students graduating high school.

Phillip Lovell, the vice president for policy and advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education
Was pleased with the results. Lovell told Edweek, “This shows we are still heading in the right direction. You can argue that the pace of improvement is slower than we’d like it to be, but there are more graduates this year than last. That’s a good thing.” Lovell was especially impressed that the number rose across the board for all demographic groups, saying it was “super important.” Lovell added, “We don’t want to increase the national grad rate and leave behind kids who are struggling to be served.”

Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute credits President George W. Bush bipartisan education achievement the No Child Left Behind Act for the rise in rates with are now seeing. The test and assessment focused law education law was passed in 2001, Bush’s first year in office. Petrilli commented to Edweek, “There is a plausible case to be made that the education system is doing a better job for more of these kids, especially for disadvantaged subgroups.”

Despite the graduation increase of five percent overall in the last five years, and for all groups, there are still problems and graduation gaps. Black students lag behind most ethnic groups, with the exception of Native students, seeing a 14 percent difference with Asian students, who are at the top of all groups. The economically disadvantaged are also remain more educationally disadvantaged than their wealthier peers with a six-point difference between the two group’s graduation rates.

The graduation rates might be improving, but college readiness still has a lot to be desired. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEP) remains unchanged or has declining rates when it comes to reading and math. Additionally, students are not meeting benchmarks for the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

The Washington Post reports the problems are exacerbated by some school districts who are using questionable means to “inflate” their graduation rates. The Post explains, “Some districts have used questionable methods to get students to the finish line, including softening grading scales and using credit recovery programs, which allow students to take abbreviated versions of courses to make up for failing grades.” Robert Balfanz, a Johns Hopkins University researcher says that rate inflation is still a problem that needs to be combated. Balfanz told Edweek, “We can devalue anything if we give it away. We need to be sure these kids are earning honest diplomas.”

The data includes a break down for each state and also by demographic data. Iowa topped the country with the highest graduation rate at 91.3 percent; in second place is New Jersey with 90.1 percent. Iowa and New Jersey are the only two states with over 90 percent of the students graduating in four years. In third place is West Virginia with 89.8 percent. At the bottom, Washington, the District of Columbia has the worst rates with an average of only 69.2 percent. DC is followed by New Mexico with a 71 percent graduation rate, while the third worst state is Oregon with a 74.8 graduation rate.

Despite the highest graduation rates in history, the US is hardly a world leader and still lags behinds many of the world’s democratic countries. According to older Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, the US ranks out of the top 20 at only the 21st position in the world. Portugal and Slovenia each tie for the highest graduation rate with 96 percent of the students graduating. Finland, Japan, and the United Kingdom round out the top five each has a rate of above 90 percent. The UK has a 92 percent graduation rate, while fellow North American country Canada also ranked higher than the US coming in the 20th position worldwide.

President Barack Obama emphasized increasing the high school graduation rates during his tenure. Starting in 2011, the Education Department under the Obama administration required all high schools to report their data in a “standardized way.” With the numbers, rising and steadily soaring to new heights in the latter part of Obama’s term, his administration saw the graduation rate increase according to the Washington Post “among its most important achievements in education.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education November 23, 2017: Will American universities continue losing international students to Canada?

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EDUCATION

Will American universities continue losing international students to Canada?

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The University of Toronto in Canada saw the largest increase in international student enrollment this academic year, benefiting the most from the decline to American schools.

With the application period in full swing for the 2018–19 academic year and incoming Class of 2022 freshman class, the question remains if American universities will continue the trend of losing international students. Last year the drop in applications and enrollment was attributed to Donald Trump’s election as president and his immigration policies. Canadian universities benefited from the American loss and received a bump in international applications and enrollments for the 2017–18 academic years. New surveys and reports released by IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact on Nov. 13, 2017, and Universities Canada on Nov. 22 indicate American universities loss seven percent of their international students, while Canadian schools saw an increase in the double digits. The two studies remained on the opposite ends when came to blaming Trump’s presidency for the differing numbers, with American reports downplaying the factor, while Canadian surveys saw a direct correlation.

A new report by the IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairsreleased on Monday, Nov. 13, entitled the “2017 Open Doors® Report on International Educational Exchange” examined at the changing international student rates. The report indicated that just the year prior, the 2016–17 academic year, American universities saw an increase in the peak of total international student enrollment, but a decrease in new international students coming to the US to study.

The 2017 Open Doors report indicates that the US saw a “record” number of international students with 1.08 million studying, the second academic year with over a million students. Open Doors claimed, “This also marks the eleventh consecutive year of continued expansion of the total number of international students in U.S. higher education.” Despite the good news, there were plenty of negatives when looking at the number of new students enrolling; there was a three percent drop from the previous academic year, 10,000 students less to 281,000 new enrollees.

The 2016–17 academic years had only a three percent increase in international students compared to the previous year, the smallest increase since the 2009–10 academic years. Open Door pointed out, “This is the first time that these numbers have declined in the twelve years since Open Doors has reported new enrollments.” The decreases primarily come from two countries Saudi Arabia and Brazil because of the decrease of scholarships. Although the report claims, economic factors trump any political reasons for the decline.

The Open Door gave a glimpse at the present academic year, which shows that the trend is continuing with an additional seven percent loss in new international student enrollees. Although this is the national trend, the results are much different at different universities and colleges. According to IIE, “45 percent of the campuses reported declines in new enrollments for fall 2017, while 31 percent reported increases in new enrollments and 24 percent reported no change from last year.”

International students contribute the most in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, serving as support faculty as research and teaching assistants. IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman commented on the decline, “Students continue to be attracted to the high quality and diverse opportunities offered by U.S. colleges and universities. But it is critical for U.S. institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world.”

IIE released another report at the start of the academic year entitled “Shifting Tides: Understanding International Student Yield for Fall 2017.” The study conducted in March 2017, was created in collaboration with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO). The study examined the international enrollment rates at 165 colleges and universities in the different regions of the country.

The results proved that President Trump’s policies had little effect on attracting international undergraduate students going from 26 percent in 2016 to just a two percent drop and 24 percent in 2017. Graduate students, however, were more deterred from studying in the US. Colleges and universities saw a 7 percent drop in international students for Masters’ degrees. Last year the number was 26 percent down to 19 percent of graduate student population this year. According to IIE “38 percent of surveyed institutions indicating a decrease in international student applications, 36 percent seeing an increase and 26 percent seeing no change compared to the prior year.”

The decline happened at 46 percent of the schools that participated, but the results varied in the four regions of the country. The South saw the largest drop in international students, with 5 percent from 35 to 30 percent; however, the Northeast did not see any difference remaining at 24 percent. Regional differences have to do with the politics of the areas and schools. The South is the country’s most conservative area, while the Northeast is the most liberal and home of the Ivy League universities that continually attract international students. Four states attract the most international students, California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts, but only Texas deep in Trump country saw a decline. Texas’ decline was a huge 18 percent loss in international students this year from the 2016 year, 44 percent down to 35 percent.

The United Kingdom’s Times Higher Education sees the decline in international students enrolling at American schools a trend that is longtime in the making and independent of Trump. Analyst Marguerite Dennis wrote an op-ed last January 2017 entitled, “Dwindling US international student numbers? Don’t blame Trump!” On the eve of Trump inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, 60 percent of international students from 118 countries said a Trump presidency would deter their enrollment in US schools a number that never materialized. Canadian saw a surge in American students visiting their perspective and future student websites. The University of Toronto saw 10,000 visitors the day after Trump’s election, up from only 1,000 the day before when the news predicted democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the election.

Dennis looked at historical data and found that the decline is a trend 17-year trend in the making commencing in 2001. At that point, the year of the terror attack on the World Trade Center “28 per cent of all international students enrolled” in American schools, by 2014 that number decreased to 22 percent. Dennis attributes two reasons for the decline, less Chinese students enrolling and rising tuition costs. Dennis claims, “In 2014–15, there were 304,040 Chinese studying in the US, 10.8 per cent more than the previous year. However, in 2013–14 the increase was 21.4 per cent.” Additionally, since 2008 tuition at American schools has increased by 28 percent.

IIE claimed that students from the Middle East and India were the most reluctant to enroll in the US because of Trump’s travel ban and were the most concerned about their ability to obtain a student visa. Indian students are fearful of enrolling because an Indian engineering student studying in the Midwest was killed in a hate crime. IIE agrees with Dennis that affordability is a major concern for students coming from “sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Canada, Oceania, Latin America and Asia,” except China.

Canadian universities are benefitting the most from international students’ reluctance to study in the US and a lesser extent in Great Britain. This academic year, Canadian universities saw a “record number” of international students enrolled in their institutions. In Canada, they attribute to the growing number of international applicants directly to Trump’s election and his presidency, and Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, but they are not certain how to maintain their growing student population and translate it into permanent Canadian residents. The major wave of applications commenced with Trump election, with Canadian schools seeing a bump of 20 percent more international applicants.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, IRCC claims there was a 17.5 percent increase in international students from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016. According to the Pie News, “the number of new students entering Canada for the first time reached nearly 270,000 — up 22% from 2015 figures.” Universities Canada released data for the fall 2017 enrollment on Nov. 22, calculating only the number of overseas international students. They determined that there was an 11 percent increase of overseas students in 2017 from 2016. As The Times Higher Education reports “the total number of full- and part-time overseas university students in the country to 192,000.”

Universities Canada took their information from Regional university associations, which include, “The Association of Atlantic Universities, the Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire (representing Quebec universities), the Council of Ontario Universities and Universities Canada.” In total 96 institutions shared their data for the survey. British Columbia is the province attracting the most international students with a 15.6 percent increase; the province is the home of one of the country’s top three schools, the University of British Columbia. The Canadian government wants to continue to capitalize on the trend and increase the number of international students to 450,000 by 2022.

Canada’s top schools The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University are attracting the brunt of the students. This year the U of Toronto had 17,452 international students at the undergraduate and graduate level representing 20 percent of the student population. The numbers are double than those of ten years ago, wherein 2007 they had 7,380 international students compromising only 10 percent of the student population.

The University of Toronto has the most international students on the continent, followed by the US’ New York University, while the UBC is third. UBC had 14,433 international students in 2016 up from 9,144 in 2012. McGill’s numbers are equally impressive, this academic year their international student population hit 30 percent and is over 12,000 out of 41,000 students. McGill noted that the number represents an “over 10 percent increase from last year and 45 percent from 5 years ago.”

The students are coming from 150 countries, the majority from China, India, South Korea, France, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Japan, Brazil, to a lesser extent Turkey. There is also an increase in American students enrolling in Canadian schools. China has the most students in Canada representing 34 percent of the international student population 57,000 students in 2014, followed by India with 14 percent; only three percent of American students come to Canada for a university education.

Applications to Canadian schools surged last fall and winter from American students distraught by Trump’s electoral victory, but those numbers never materialized in enrollments. The U of Toronto saw an increase of 70 percent from American students, McGill had a 30 percent increase from the US and 16 percent internationally, while UBC saw a 26 percent increase in applications from American students. In 2014, Canada hosted 9,000 American students in their universities.

Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada claims the increase in international students can be attributed to the country being “known worldwide as a nation that values diversity and inclusion, and our universities are a big part of that.” Davison continued praising the country to the THE, saying, “Students around the globe are increasingly choosing the internationally recognised quality of a Canadian university education, and the benefits for Canada are tremendous.”

In contrast, Richard Levin, executive director of enrolment services and university registrar at the University of Toronto see the enrollment bump being because of the backlash in the US and the UK. Levin told CBC News “Clearly there are things about the international situation — worries about stability, Brexit and the U.S. political environment — that have changed or increased international students’ interest in looking beyond their own countries and beyond the U.S..” Continuing Levin expressed, “Now in places like that, students are looking for alternatives and Canada is presenting as a good one in terms of stability, safety, and inclusiveness.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

Education November 5, 2017: Harvard to lower admission rates for class of 2022

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EDUCATION

Harvard to lower admission rates for class of 2022

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Harvard Colleges intends to admit fewer students to the Class of 2022. Harvard College

Every year the admission process becomes more difficult, and the admission rate at the Ivy League and elite top-tier universities shrink. For high school seniors applying for the Class of 2022, this year will even be more difficult to secure an acceptance letter from the school of the dreams. This year Harvard intends to admit fewer students, and the college will extend the deadline for early admissions for students from locations hit by the string of hurricanes and natural disasters in late August and September. The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons made the twin announcements in a September 2017 interview with college student paper the Harvard Crimson.

Fitzsimmons cites overcrowding in the Class of 2021 freshman as the reason for accepting fewer students this upcoming year. This year much more students accepted admission offers, leading to “twenty-eight freshmen living in DeWolfe, overflow housing typically reserved for upperclassmen.” The Dean of Admissions wants to admit also students off the waitlist this year. Last year they were unable to able to accept any student of the list. Fitzsimmons says his goal is “40 to 50 to maybe 100 people.”

Harvard’s Class of 2021 acceptance rate was 5.2 percent, the second lowest in the country only after Stanford University. Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants. The acceptance rate is almost the same as the Class of 2020 when 5.22 percent or 2,037 students were admitted out a historic high amount of 39,044 applications. For the regular admission cycle, Harvard accepted 1,118 students. In December 2016, as part of their early action program, Harvard accepted 938 applicants out of 6,473 applications for an acceptance rate of 14.5 percent.

The problem was a record number of students accepted their offers of admissions. Close to 84 percent of students accepted their admission offer to the Class of 2021, for the class of 2020, only 80 percent accepted. In May Fitzsimmons commented, “It was the largest number of applications in our history, it was a great yield on admitted students. Everything we could possibly hope for happened in this class.” Changes to the financial aid program led to a more a “socioeconomically diverse” freshman class where “approximately 24 percent were classified as low-income and 17 percent were eligible for Pell Grants.” More financial aid has made Harvard in reach for talented students from economically challenged backgrounds.

Additionally, students in regions hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires in the country, and other natural disasters worldwide will see some leniency in the early admissions applications. Fitzsimmons said, “His office will grant extensions for some early applications and take more time to deliberate on acceptances.” The majority of students will still hear back about early admissions on Dec. 12, but applications will be accepted after the Nov. 1 deadline and considerations will continue through January. The Dean of Admissions told the Crimson, “We could be in for a very different kind of calendar sitting in front of us this year because we want to be fair to these students and give them a complete hearing we can give them.”

Usually, students who applied for early admissions had to submit all documents including “letters of recommendation, transcripts, and secondary school reports” by the Nov. 1 deadline. This year there will be extensions on those documents, additionally, there will be the possibility of application fee waivers and students can take their SAT and ACTs in November and then submit results. The college expects students applying from Texas, Florida and Georgia will be most affected. Texas sends the fourth most applicants and students to Harvard of all states; Hurricane Harvey along with severe flooding in late August hit the state badly. Meanwhile, Florida, which sends the sixth largest amount of students to the college, and Georgia were affected by Hurricane Irma in September.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education October 29, 2017: Harvard tops US News 2018 Best Global Universities

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EDUCATION

Harvard tops US News 2018 Best Global Universities

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

This was Harvard’s year, the oldest Ivy League university reigns over another ranking US News and World Report’s fourth annual Best Global Universities Rankings. Harvard.edu

Harvard University remains the top university in the world according to the US News and World Report’s fourth annual Best Global Universities Rankings. US News released the 2018 ranking on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The biggest international university ranking looked at the best universities by “region, country, and subject” based on “academic research and reputation.” This year’s ranking again grew and increased the number of schools represented from 1000 to 1250 from 74 countries in the world up from 65, with each one receiving a score out of 100.

The top four overall remains the same as last year, but a lot more movement in the rest of the top ten with three new entries. As for the rest of the top three, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) remained second, and Stanford University remains third. The top public school on the list the University of California-Berkeley remains at fourth. Rounding out the top five is the best school outside of the US, the University of Oxford, which is back up to fifth place after a year hiatus.

In the second half of the top ten, the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moved down one to number six. The number two British university the University of Cambridge remains in the seventh spot. Columbia University moves up to eighth place switching with Princeton University, who moves down one to ninth. The tenth spot is busy this year with three universities entering the top 10 at that spot. Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, and Yale University are all tied for tenth place. The University of Washington replaces top ten departing the University of California-Los Angeles as the second-placed public school at the top of the ranking.

American universities dominated the entire ranking as they did the top 10 with 221 institutions, followed by China with 136 schools and Japan with 76 schools represented continuing the rise of Asian schools. The UK fell to fourth place with 73 schools, in continental Europe Germany had 58 institutions in the ranking. The United Kingdom is the only country to pierce the top ten universities with Oxford University at №5 and the University of Cambridge at №7.

Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, explained the reason behind American domination, “The schools that rank the highest in the Best Global Universities rankings are those that emphasize academic research, including by partnering with international scholars to produce highly cited articles. This is different from the Best Colleges rankings, which measure the overall quality of undergraduate institutions in the U.S. and focus on student outcomes such as graduation and retention rates.”

Meanwhile, Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News commented on the ranking. Narayan expressed, “For more than 30 years, U.S. News has been committed to making higher education data more accessible to prospective students choosing a U.S. university. The Best Global Universities rankings similarly allow consumers to accurately evaluate and compare international schools to find the right fit for them, based on available data.”

The first university that made the list outside of the US and the UK was Canada with the University of Toronto at №20 up from 21 last year. The University of British Columbia came in second as it has been for most of this year’s international lists at №27 up from 31 last year, followed by McGill University in third who also climbed up, but just one to 49 from 50th place last year.

US News’ global universities list covers five regions including African universities. US News’ added to their country-specific rankings four additional countries moving the number up from 38 to 42. The countries added were Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, and Romania. Among the regions, most of the universities from last year remained their region’s top school with one exception. The University of Oxford is the top school in Europe.

The top European university outside of the UK is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich at number 25 up from 35 last year. In Oceania, the University of Melbourne in Australia took the highest spot for that area at №26 up from 36. The Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil is the best in Latin America, and the top school in Africa is the University of Cape Town. The only change was in Asia, where the National University of Singapore replaced the University of Tokyo as the top school coming at №43.

The ranking also includes subject rankings looking at the top school for research in the field solely. There are 22 subject rankings in all. The subject rankings are dominated by STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the addition of the arts and humanities. The US again dominates the subject rankings, topping the lists in all but six subjects. The six subjects the US does not rank first are computer science, engineering, mathematics, agricultural sciences, materials science, and arts and humanities. Harvard excels in the most subject fields, with 11; other multiple toppers include the University of California — Berkeley and China’s Tsinghua University both with two subjects.

China is moving up with Tsinghua University replacing MIT in the computer science ranking and tops the engineering field in research. The methodology for the subject rankings differs from the university rankings because it looks at academic research in the individual subject. The subject rankings have more schools represented, 125 that are not included in the university rankings. Additionally, 600 schools, 200 more from last year were included in the subjects of chemistry, clinical medicine, engineering, and physics.

US News utilizes data from Clarivate Analytics InCitesTM research analytics solutions, and citations data taken from the Web of Science database. The data “measures a university’s global and regional reputation; academic research performance using bibliometric indicators such as publications, citations and international collaboration; and school-level data on faculty and Ph.D. graduates.” Last year US News’ altered their methodology “to further emphasize excellence in academic research by factoring in the total number of highly cited papers in the top 1 percent of their respective fields and the percentage of a university’s total papers that are among the top 1 percent of most-cited papers.” This year US News again changed their methodology giving marks for universities where their professors collaborated with professors from other countries in authoring research articles.

U.S. News 2018 Best Global Universities Rankings top 10:

Overall Best Global Universities

1. Harvard University (U.S.) (1)
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.) (2)
3. Stanford University (U.S.) (3)
4. University of California-Berkeley (U.S.) (4)
5. University of Oxford (U.K.) (6)
6. California Institute of Technology (U.S.) (5)
7. University of Cambridge (U.K.) (7)
8. Columbia University (U.S.) (9)
9. Princeton University (U.S.) (8)
10. Johns Hopkins University (U.S.) (tie)
10. University of Washington (U.S.) (tie)
10. Yale University (U.S.) (tie)

Subject Rankings

Agricultural Sciences: Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands (88 tied)
Arts and Humanities: University of Oxford United Kingdom (5)
Biology and Biochemistry: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Chemistry: University of California — Berkeley United States Berkeley, CA (4)
Clinical Medicine: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Computer Science: Tsinghua University China Beijing (64)
Economics and Business: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Engineering: Tsinghua University China Beijing (64)
Environment/Ecology: University of California — Berkeley United States Berkeley, CA (4)
Geosciences: California Institute of Technology United States Pasadena, CA (6)
Immunology: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Materials Science: Nanyang Technological University Singapore (55)
Mathematics: Pierre and Marie Curie University France Paris (38)
Microbiology: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Molecular Biology and Genetics: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Neuroscience and Behavior: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Pharmacology and Toxicology: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Physics: Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States Cambridge, MA (2)
Plant and Animal Science: University of California — Davis United States Davis, CA (52)
Psychiatry/Psychology: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Social Sciences and Public Health: Harvard University United States Cambridge, MA (1)
Space Science: California Institute of Technology United States Pasadena, CA (6)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education October 20, 2017: McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings for 2018

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EDUCATION

McGill remains on top of Maclean’s University Rankings for 2018

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill again topped Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking in 2018 and has retained the number one spot for the past 13 years. Wikipedia Commnons

It is lucky number 13 for McGill University, as the Montreal school tops Maclean’s Magazine University Ranking in 2018 for the 13th straight year. Maclean’s Magazine released their 2018 University Ranking on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, again giving Canada’s most prestigious university their top honors. Simon Fraser University remained number one in the Comprehensive category for the fourth year in a row, while the Mount Allison University regained the top spot in the Primarily Undergraduate category. The University of Toronto took the №1 spot in the reputation survey again this year, and Bishop’s University is the Top School by Student Satisfaction.

The most significant of the Maclean’s ranking lists is their Medical/Doctoral category, focusing on the major research universities. Maclean’s explains universities in this category include “a medical school and a wide range of research and Ph.D. programs.” McGill again topped the list this year and has retained the number one spot for the past 13 years. Maclean’s boasts McGill’s illustrious alumni of “change-makers,” its doctorate programs, and ‘groundbreaking and innovative” research.

Maclean’s notes, McGill “has also produced more Rhodes Scholars (142) and Nobel laureates (12) than any other university in Canada.” McGill has an addition being located in Montreal, the QS World University Rankings the best student city in the world for 2017. McGill was able to beat the competition despite funding problems that have been plaguing the university in the past couple of years. McGill also was in the bottom quarter of universities ranked when it came to “per-student operating budget,” as the McGill Reported noted. McGill’s libraries, however, were lauded for their “stellar performance.”

The top six of the category remained the same for the second year in third year in a row with Toronto in second, UBC in third, followed by Queen’s in fourth, Alberta in fifth and McMaster Universities in sixth place. There was, however, a lot of movement in the last four spots of the top 10. Western Ontario moved up to seventh after tying for eighth last year. Dalhousie moved down again from seventh back to eighth. Ottawa moved down one again back to tie for ninth place this time with the University of Calgary, who was in last year’s tenth place position.

Maclean’s explains the reason for their three main ranking lists saying they “place universities into three categories to recognize the differences in levels of research funding, the diversity of offerings and the breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs.” McGill has a reputation as the Harvard of the North and rightfully keeps its spot as the nation’s best at the top of the Medical Doctoral category.

McGill’s Principal Suzanne Fortier was pleased with Maclean’s ranking results. Fortier issued a statement saying, “We are delighted to see McGill recognized once again as Canada’s leading university according to the Maclean’s yardstick. All members of our McGill community can take pride in this accomplishment. I salute our alumni for the solid foundation of excellence they have built in our great university and congratulate all the students, professors and staff for their commitment to the values of McGill.”

The Comprehensive category is described as universities “with significant research, undergraduate, and graduate programs as well as professional schools,” but are not as research focused, and do not have Medical schools. This year Simon Fraser University again topped the category for “the fourth year in a row” and now 14 times in the ranking’s history. Only three other schools have ever topped the comprehensive category, the University of Victoria, which moves up again to the second place, University of Waterloo, who again drops one back to third place. The University of Guelph remains in fourth place and Carleton University stays at fifth place.

There was a lot of movement in the bottom half of the top ten. Although the University of New Brunswick remains in sixth place, it is now tied with Wilfrid Laurier University, which has moved up three from ninth. Both Memorial and York University, who last year had been tied for seventh place moved down and are now tied for eighth. While Concordia stays at tenth place rounding out the top ten.

The Primarily Undergraduate category features universities who focus on their undergraduate program. The biggest changes in this year’s rankings come from the primarily undergraduate category. Mount Allison University catapults back to the top moving up one. Previously Mount Allison topped the list for eight years until UNB dethroned the school. The University of Northern British Columbia (UNB) now trades places with Mount Allison and moves down to the second spot after two years assuming the top position. Trent and Lethbridge Universities trade places as well, with Trent moving up one to third and Lethbridge down one to fourth.

The middle of the top ten remained the same as last year. Acadia, St. Francis Xavier, and Saint Mary’s Universities each stayed in the fifth, sixth and seventh positions respectively, that they were in last year. Two universities reentered the top ten after a year hiatus, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Lakehead University where both last year tied for the eleventh spot, now they moved up, UOIT to eighth and Lakehead into the ninth slot. Rounding out the top ten is the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), who drops two spots to tenth.

Macleans’ rankings do not have drastic changes from year to year because of the methodology they use, relying on as the magazine explains, “research funding and university spending don’t vary wildly from year to year, and student and faculty awards, as well as publications and citations, are counted over a five-year period. Twelve of the 14 ranking indicators are derived from data from third-party sources, such as the three major federal granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR) and Statistics Canada. The other two indicators are based on a reputational survey and a student survey. These surveys are subjective, and people criticize them-or praise them-for that very reason.”

The Maclean’s Reputation Ranking is the most controversial list in their annual rankings, because it is subjective, taking their results from a survey completed by “university faculty and senior administrators, high school guidance counselors, and a variety of businesspeople.” The list looks at the universities’ quality and innovation. This year, Maclean’s assembled one list, the National reputational ranking with all 49 universities represented from the Primarily Undergraduate, Comprehensive and Medical/Doctoral categories.

The national reputation ranking is similar to last year’s Best Overall Reputation ranking. Maclean’s Reputation Survey has the University of Toronto again on top, followed by Waterloo remaining in second, then the University of British Columbia staying third, and McGill remains in fourth. Rounding out the top five is the University of Alberta. Maclean’s still has separate reputation surveys for each category under their overall lists. The University of Toronto is also the top under the Medical/Doctoral categories, the University of Waterloo tops the Comprehensive category, while Mount Allison tops the Primarily Undergraduate reputation survey.

Maclean’s shook up their rankings two years when they added a student survey called “Students Favorite Schools.” Since then the name has changed to the Student Satisfaction survey and is now combined to rank the schools in all the three categories. This year Bishop’s University topped the list, last year Bishop’s was the student’s chosen school in the Primarily Undergraduate category. Each category still maintains their individual ranking, under their category’s overall ranking. This year, the top Medical/Doctoral school among students was the Université de Sherbrooke, who was number 13 in their category overall, Wilfrid Laurier was the top comprehensive school, but tied for sixth in their category, and Bishop’s was also the top choice also in the Primarily Undergraduate category, although it was only tied for eleventh in its category.

Maclean’s three major rankings Medical Doctoral, Comprehensive, and Primarily Undergraduate use the same methodology to determine the lists’ rankings. There are six performance indicators; students and classes account for 20 percent of the grade, Faculty also 20 percent, Resources account for 12 percent, Student Support at 13 percent, Library at 15 percent, and Reputation weigh heavily at 20 percent.

Here is Maclean’s top 10 in their Medical/Doctoral category and includes the university’s 2017 positions:

1 McGill [1]
1 Toronto [2]
3 UBC [3]
4 Queen’s [4]
5 Alberta [5]
6 McMaster [6]
7 Western [*8]
8 Dalhousie [7]
*9 Calgary [10]
*9 Ottawa [*8]

Comprehensive category’s top 10:

1 Simon Fraser [1]
2 Victoria [3]
3 Waterloo [2]
4 Guelph [4]
5 Carleton [5]
*6 New Brunswick [6]
*6 Wilfrid Laurier [9]
*8 Memorial [*7]
*8 York [*7]
10 Concordia [10]

Primarily Undergraduate category’s top 10:

1 Mount Allison [2]
2 UNBC [1]
3 Trent [4]
4 Lethbridge [3]
5 Acadia [5]
6 St. Francis Xavier [6]
7 Saint Mary’s [7]
8 UOIT [*11]
9 Lakehead [*11]
10 UPEI [8]

National reputational ranking top 10:

1 Toronto [1]
2 Waterloo [2]
3 UBC [3]
4 McGill [4]
5 Alberta [5]
6 McMaster [7]
7 Western [8]
8 Queen’s [6]
9 Simon Fraser [10]
10 Calgary

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education September 27, 2017: Harvard tops the 2018 Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education second annual US college ranking

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Harvard tops the 2018 Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education second annual US college ranking

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Harvard University is replacing the country’s most selective university Stanford as the nation’s top university and is again regaining the preeminent top position in the public’s eyes. Wikipedia Commons 

Another ranking has returned America’s crown jewel Harvard University to the top of university rankings charts. In their second edition, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings named Harvard University their best college beating out last year’s school Stanford University as the rivalry between the two most selective universities in the country continues in this year’s ranking season. WSJ and THE released their second annual joint ranking of American colleges on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. The top ten included some of the country’s most elite universities including six belonging to the Ivy League. Harvard is regaining control in national rankings also topping Forbes American Top College in 2017 for the first time.

Besides Harvard, there are six other schools in the Northeast in the top ten including five more from the Ivy League. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and ivies Columbia, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Cornell reign the top ten. Only three schools outside the elite location made the top ten including two from California, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology and North Carolina’s Duke University representing the South. Harvard gained ground in the engagement and environment categories boosting it back to the top of the rankings. Stanford lost ground and first place in the resources and outcomes categories.

The top ten has changed around drastically since the WSJ/THE Inaugural ranking with Harvard moving up from second place to number one and former top school Stanford slides to third place. In second is Columbia University who moves up from fifth, three spots to second place. Stanford does not have the third place alone it shares it with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who moves down one from last year. Rounding out the top five is Duke University moving up two to the fifth spot.

In the second half of the top ten Yale University remains in the sixth place. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is the only new school in the top ten moving up five spots from 12 to seventh place. The University of Pennsylvania moves down four to eighth place. US News and World Report’s Best College Princeton University remains at the ninth place. Cornell University completes the top ten moving down two spots. Last year’s tenth place school Northwestern University moved out of the top ten tumbling to number 15 in the ranking.

The majority of the schools in the top 30 are private, as well as the entire top 10. The only public schools in the top 30 are the University of California-Los Angeles, which is the top ranking public school this year coming in at №25 and last year’s top public school the University of Michigan at №27. UCLA moved up three from №28 last year, while Michigan moves down five from №22. Rounding out the top three public schools are the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill falling three out of the top 30 to №33.

Public schools in general did not fare well in the rankings with 80 out of the bottom 100 being public universities. Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, Times Higher Education sees this as a “serious” problem in the US, “The fact that there are only two publics in the top 30 is part of the narrative that there is a crisis in public higher education. We are seeing some real challenges in terms of resources, and I think this kind of inequality, this defunding of great American public schools, is a serious issue.” This issue is important because public schools are the ones accepting more racially and socioeconomically diverse students than private colleges, particularly the California state system. As Baty notes, “It’s an incredible story of access. But again, the schools with the greatest access are starved of funds. The privates are less inclusive.”

The WSJ/THE ranking is one of the many rankings that now focuses heavily on the outcomes of getting a degree from one the institutions on their list, as Return on Investment (ROI) takes center stage in more rankings. This year WSJ emphasized their ranking examines “how well a college will prepare students for life after graduation.” What sets the WSJ/ THE ranking apart is the survey that asks “the extent to which they felt engaged in their education.” Last year, 10,000 participated in the survey, this year, 109,000 were involved.

The methodology includes four main categories and 15 individual factors. WSJ explains the methodology’s marking system, “40 per cent of each school’s overall score comes from student outcomes, including a measure of graduate salaries, 30 per cent from the school’s academic resources, 20 per cent from how well it engages its students and 10 per cent from the diversity of its students and staff.”

Some factors included in the ranking are the “salaries of graduates and debt repayment rates, school reputation, research impact, and how much a college spends to educate each student.” According to the WSJ, colleges are specifically marked on the following categories “alumni earnings, debt burdens, student engagement, resources, diversity of students and faculty, and academic reputation.” This year WSJ/THE added a new factor, “graduates’ ability to repay student debt” in their methodology under the outcomes category. Over 1,000 colleges were included in the ranking.

Expanding from last year, the WSJ/THE has six other rankings in addition to their overall ranking. They include “The Best Public Colleges in the U.S., The Colleges Whose Graduates Do Best Financially, Colleges Where Students Are Most Inspired by Their Peers, Colleges Where Students Feel Challenged, Public Universities Do Best When It Comes to Diversity, and Colleges That Prioritize Internships.”

UCLA, Michigan, and UNC are the top public colleges. California is tops when it comes to top most diverse students with La Sierra University on the top and seven California public schools in the top 12. Students are the most challenged at Dordt College in Iowa and Texas Christian University. While Kettering University, Endicott College are the top schools That Prioritize Internships preparing their students for work after college. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, however, is the top school for elevating income for graduates, while Harvard and Duke are the best universities for graduates to do best financially overall.

The rankings are based on specific categories, Resources, Student Outcomes, Engagement, and Environment. The top results like last year are a mix of private Ivy League and private universities, and small little-known public colleges. Harvard University remains first when it comes to Resources. There was a new number one in the Student Outcomes category with Yale University out and Harvard and Duke vying and tying for first. The outcomes category most mirrors the overall top ten with most of the universities appearing in the lists top 11 with one addition, Williams College tied for ninth, but came in at №22 overall.

The Ivy League schools did not dominate the entire ranking with public schools outweighing them in two categories, Engagement and Environment. For a second year, Dordt College is the top school in Engagement, but was only №393 overall in the ranking. La Sierra University is still the best school for Environment although it does not even rank in the top 600. Environment examines whether a school is racially and socioeconomically diverse but also looks at “staff and the proportion of international students.” Ironically, none of the schools in the top five even made the Environment category’s top 50.

Dave Pettit, Editor of Specialized News Products, The Wall Street Journal discussed this year’s ranking in the press release. Pettit explained, “With so many schools to choose from and countless factors to consider, selecting the right college requires careful consideration and a lot of research. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings are designed to help make the selection process easier and less intimidating.”

Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, at the Times Higher Education commented, on what makes their ranking unique. Baty said, “In our first year, the Journal and THE were lauded for shaking up U.S. rankings. Unlike traditional competitors, we have built these rankings around a huge survey based on 200,000 current student voices, giving us a student’s eye view of teaching, learning, and life on campus. It gives a rounded and practical understanding of the strengths of individual institutions and the lifelong value of a degree.”

The WSJ/THE were quick to address the differences between their ranking and US News and World Report’s flagship ranking of American colleges and universities, specifically the discrepancies between their positioning of universities. The most noticeable difference is Princeton, who has topped US News’ ranking for several years, but was only number nine in the WSJ/THE ranking, because their engagement rank was a disappointing number 533.

The main reason for the differences all amounts to the methodologies each ranking uses to calculate national position. Carnegie Mellon, who came in at number 20, but number 25 under US News summed up well the reasons for the differences and the problems with rankings in a statement. The statement read, “Some rankings are designed purely for entertainment, little more than internet photo galleries. Others make a more serious effort at collecting information. Even where rankings do collect objective statistics such as test scores or costs, the choice of which factors to include in a ranking, and how those factors are weighted, remains subjective.”

WSJ/THE US College Rankings 2018 top 10:

1. Harvard University (6)
2. Columbia University (5)
3. Stanford University (1)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie) (2)
5. Duke University (7)
6. Yale University (6)
7. California Institute of Technology (12)
8. University of Pennsylvania (4)
9. Princeton University (9)
10. Cornell University (8)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education September 12, 2017: Oxford and Cambridge reign atop Times Higher Education’s 2018 World University Rankings as the US tumbles

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Oxford and Cambridge reign atop Times Higher Education’s 2018 World University Rankings as the US tumbles

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

For the second year, Oxford University is the world’s best topping Times Higher Education (THE) 2017/18 World University Rankings. (Wikipedia Commons)

There is new powerhouse couple topping the 2018 edition of Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. The University of Cambridge joins the reigning university Oxford moving up to second place. For the first time in the ranking’s history, American schools are left out in the cold from the top positions. Times Higher Education (THE) released their 2017/18 World University Rankings on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, and for the second year, Oxford University is the world’s best. With Cambridge in second former five-time honor winner, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) slides to tie for third place with the United States most selective school, Stanford University. The ranking shows an increased pre-eminence for British, European and Asian schools while American schools fall in the ranks.

With Oxford again on top, vice-chancellor Louise Richardson told THE she was “delighted that Oxford has held its position at the top of these global rankings.” Continuing Richardson expressed, “To be judged the best university in the world for the second successive year, against a backdrop in which Britain’s role in the world is uncertain and the place of universities in society open to question, will be a great source of pride for everyone at Oxford, and, I hope, for the whole country.” Richard son concluded, “Success in our field is never an accident, it is “achieved by a relentless pursuit of excellence, creative brilliance and a deep commitment to our enduring values.”

The second half of the top ten stayed mostly the same. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) remains in 5th place, Harvard University stays in sixth, Princeton University in seventh. The Imperial College London also remains in eighth, the University of Chicago in ninth place, and ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is again tied for tenth place. A new university enters the top ten the University of Pennsylvania moves up three to tie for tenth place. While the University of California, Berkeley, who last year tied for tenth moves down eight to 18th place. The top 10 again features one university outside of the United States and the United Kingdom, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

The biggest news, however, was how for the second year in a row Britain denies the US the top spot, and this year takes the second place. Before the 2017 world ranking the US had the top university for the list’s 12 years. According to the Wall Street Journal, 2018 marks the fifth year, American universities have declined in ranking and number of universities represented in the top 200. In 2014, there were 77 American schools in the top 200 now there are only 62, 15 less in just four years. Despite losing the top two spots, American universities dominate the top 10 and the ranking list in general, but they are losing ground. According to THE “two-fifths of the US institutions in the top 200 (29 out of 62) have dropped places.” Although American universities are still well represented the U.K, Germany and the Netherlands have the most universities in the top 1000.

Part of the reason for this year’s decline was the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump and his travel ban for six Muslim countries. The ranking collected data at the peak of the hysteria, and although immigration remains an issue, the frenzy over the issue subsided. Unfortunately, American schools suffered in the ranking at the height of the backlash over Trump and his policies. However, THE’s methodology relies heavily on funding and American universities saw a drop in their “institutional income,” with the top Caltech and Stanford dropping by 23 to 24 percent. In contrast, British schools saw an infusion of funding, with Oxford receiving 24 percent more and Cambridge 11 percent. The majority of American schools in the top 200, 59 out 62 dropped in the ranking.

Phil Baty, the rankings editor at Times Higher Education, commented on America’s place in the rankings, calling it stagnation. Baty said, “It’s not doom and gloom, the U.S. still dominates the list, but there are clear warning signs and fairly significant flashing red lights that the U.S. is under threat from increasing competition. Asia is rising. It’s a worrying time for stagnation for the U.S.”

Britain and China saw the largest bumps in the rankings. Britain has always been home to the world oldest and some of most prestigious universities. This year 23 of the 24 universities in UK’s Russell Group were in the top 200. There are 31 British schools in the top 200 with 93 in the top 1000. Last year, Brexit was at the forefront but now it is becoming less of an issue at least for now when it comes to attracting students and research. Future funding, an integral part of the THE ranking methodology is still a question for British schools. Whether the funding and professors from the European Union will remain at current rates is still uncertain.

This year China had seven schools in the top 200, up from only two in 2014 and two in the top 30 Peking and Tsinghua both in Bejing. Asia’s top school is the National University of Singapore tied for 22nd place. China, however, according to the WSJ is manufacturing conditions that increase their profiles in world rankings. The Communist government is investing in their universities, and trying to appeal to international students, although the majority of their foreign students are coming from other Asian countries including South Korea, but also the US.

Elizabeth Perry, a professor of Government at Harvard specializing in China, believes the Chinese government is creating conditions to give their universities an edge in the rankings, which she calls gaming. Perry told the WSJ, “They are hiring an army of postdocs whose responsibility is to produce articles. They are changing the nature of a university from an educational institution to basically a factory that is producing what these rankings reward.”

Many university ranking methodologies rely on the number of citations, research, and articles produced by a university to determine their ranking China is mass marketing research, which Xia Qiong, “a professor at Wuhan University in central China” claims is mostly trash. Xia revealed to the WSJ, “Research overly emphasizes quantity, not quality, and accordingly produces a lot of trash and wastes a lot of research funds.”

In Canada, The University of Toronto remains the country’s top school, coming in at tied for 22nd place in the ranking followed by University of British Columbia at number 34, and McGill University, which remains at 42 again this year. McMaster University seems to be joining the esteemed ranks of University of Toronto, British Columbia and McGill University, the big three of Canadian universities. McMaster saw “the largest jump of any school in the top 100” moving into the top 100 for the first time and to number 78, last year McMaster was 113.

The 35 spot move is attributed to McMaster’s Health Sciences research. According to the WSJ, McMaster “created antibiotics to treat infectious diseases and creating molecules that carry radioactive charges designed to detect cancer in very early forms.” This is the second ranking McMaster has seen their numbers rise. Earlier in August, McMaster eclipsed McGill in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2018 edition where McMaster moved up an impressive 17 places and took the 66th spot and third place in Canada.

The THE World University Rankings expanded this year’s rankings with more universities from more countries. This year they ranked 1000 school up from 978 last year. The ranking’s methodology involves four leading indicators, “teaching, research, citations and international outlook,” however; research takes precedence over the others. Baty explained the ranking’s successful methodology, “The single biggest individual indicator is research impact. We’re looking at 56 million citations, 11.9 million research publications.” As the Wall Street Journal indicates, THE’s World Rankings differs from American rankings is because it factors “global reach and includes only universities.”

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an offset of the QS World University Ranking. In 2010, Times Higher Education formed a new partnership with Thomson Reuters in 2010 and created a new methodology. The ranking looks at a university’s “teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.” Thomson Reuters utilizes 13 indicators to determine the results of the list, they are under five pillars “overall indicators;” “industry income, internationalism, teaching, research, and citations.”

The annual ranking includes ten additional lists covering subject fields, and universities in particular areas in addition to the main World University Rankings, which ranks the top 200 institutions. Subject field lists include; Arts & Humanities, Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and the Social Sciences. Additionally, THE publishes the 150 Under 50, ranking universities established in the past 50 years, US College Rankings, Asia University Rankings, Latin American Rankings, and BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings.

Times Higher Education’s top 10 from their World University Rankings:

1 University of Oxford (U.K.) (1)
2 University of Cambridge (U.K.) (4)
T-3 California Institute of Technology (U.S.) (2)
T-3 Stanford University (U.S.) (3)
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.) (5)
6 Harvard University (U.S.) (5)
7 Princeton University (U.S.) (7)
8 Imperial College London (U.K.) (8)
9 University of Chicago (U.S.) (9)
T-10 ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland) (T-10)
T-10 University of Pennsylvania (U.S.) (13)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education September 12, 2017: Princeton and Williams again top of US News’ 2018 Best Colleges amid accusations of elitism

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

U.S. News & World Report again has Princeton University and Williams College topping their list of Best Colleges for 2018. (Wikipedia Commons)

While international university rankings are reporting upheaval, there is one ranking that remains rock solid in its findings, U.S. News & World Report again has Princeton University and Williams College topping their list of Best Colleges. U.S. News, the standard-bearers in the national university and college rankings game released on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, their first of two major college and university rankings for the season, their Best Colleges rankings for 2018 online. Princeton, Williams, and Berkley all saw repeat visits to the top of the rankings. Princeton is №1 of all Best National Universities for the seventh year, while Williams remains atop the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges for the past 15 years. This year’s ranking was rather indecisive with multiple schools vying for a single spot.

Public universities some changes in this year’s ranking. Berkley is no longer the only university in the University of California system helming the Top Public Schools among National Universities; UC Los Angeles, both tying for first place, joins it. Berkley still №1 as it has been for the last 20 years. There is, however, a new king in first place in the Top Public Schools among National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking. The United States Military Academy at West Point takes over from former honor taker the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis as the best public liberal arts college. As much as US News is celebrated for its king maker status it is becoming increasingly under fire for claims that their Best Colleges ranking fuels elitism and shuts out low-income students seeking degrees because they would hinder schools’ quest to rise in the rankings.

The Ivy League and elite universities dominate the Best National Universities. Princeton remains on top, followed by Harvard again in second, while the University of Chicago and Yale continue to tie for third place. Three elite schools now tie for fifth place, Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford. MIT leaped two spots to end up in the top five. The University of Pennsylvania retains the eighth spot, but no longer shares it with Duke University. Duke drops one to fall into ninth place. Rounding out the top ten is the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), who moves back up two to retake the tenth place after leaving the top 10 briefly last year. John Hopkins University leaves the top 10, to tie for 11th place. The top thirty has a new school with the New York University joining the esteemed ranks rising six to 30. NYU raised their profile by having additional campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai and marketing themselves as a “new type of global, private research university.”

There are also plenty of colleges tied in the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges ranking, listing the best primary undergraduate schools specializing in the arts and sciences. The top two remain unchanged, with Williams College on top and Amherst in second. Now the third place is a three-way tie with Bowdoin, Swarthmore and Wellesley vying for the one spot. Bowdoin is the greatest gainer in the bunch was Bowdoin moving up from sixth, while Swarthmore moving up one from tied for fourth. Middlebury College loses two positions moving down from tied for fourth to tie with sixth with Pomona College, which moves up one from seventh. Carleton College moves down one to tie for eighth with Claremont McKenna, who moves up from ninth. Two colleges now vie for tenth, Davidson College moves down one, and Washington and Lee University moves up one into the top 10.

In the lists of best public schools, University of California-Berkeley is longer the lone king atop of the Top Public Schools among National Universitiesranking. In its 20th year, Berkley now co-reigns with fellow University of California school, UC Los Angeles, both schools tie for 21st place in the Best National Universities list. UCLA standing rose because this past year it became the first university in the country to receive 100,000 applications for the 2021 freshman class. The University of Virginia maintains its third spot. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor also stays in its spot at fourth, with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill still rounding out the top five.

The ranking’s biggest shake up is the Top Public Schools among National Liberal Arts Colleges list, with the United States Military Academy grabbing up the top spot from the former king the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. West Point ties for 12th on the national ranking. The United States Naval Academy now slips to second and is the 21st school on the national list. This is the first time since 2009–10 that West Point led Annapolis. The United States Air Force Academy remains in third. Another military college the Virginia Military Institute takes the fourth place alone this year. St. Mary’s College of Maryland rounds out the top five.

US News publishes their “Best Colleges” ranking lists in different categories including National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Top Public Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional CollegesA-plus Schools for B StudentsBest Value Schools for universities and liberal arts colleges, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In total, more than 1,800 colleges and universities were profiled.

Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News, commented on the value of the rankings to help with college choice decision making. Kelly explained, “Before taking out student loans or writing a tuition check, families should research graduation and retention rates. These are important indicators of how well a school supports its students both academically and financially.” Continuing Kelly remarked, “Colleges that saddle students with debt but do little to support them through graduation are contributing to a vicious cycle — without that valuable degree, students will have a difficult time landing well-paying jobs and repaying their loans, which puts them in a precarious financial situation early on in their careers.”

Although public universities and liberal arts colleges are given separate lists, the same is not done with private universities and liberal arts colleges. The US News’ ranking categories are based on Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. US News Best Colleges’ methodology involves looking at over 1,800 universities and colleges to create their four rankings; the results are determined by “15 measures of academic quality,” taken from the Common Data Set. The Best Colleges lists rely heavily on “student outcomes” predominantly “graduation and retention rates” which represent 30 percent of the deciding factor in the ranking. The main criterion includes “graduation and retention rates, undergraduate academic reputation, student selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, alumni giving and graduation rate performance.”

This year US News tweaked their methodology adding new elements to give seniors and their parents more information for the college decision making. One factors into the ranking the other does not. For the National Universities under graduation rates US News now looks at the “proportion of degrees awarded in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.”

US News is also dipping into the return on investment (ROI) trend in college rankings and will now provide “salary data for alumni of individual schools, supplied by the online analyst PayScale.” The salary data, however, is still not part of the ranking methodology. Robert Morse, chief data strategist for U.S. News remarked on the new ROI addition, saying. “Using salary as a heavily weighted rankings factor ignores academic quality, which we believe is more important for prospective students and their parents when considering which school to attend.” Morse, however, pointed out, “Not everyone is interested in a high-salaried career. Secondly, the salary data — while important — is not comprehensive enough to do an analytic school-by-school comparison.”

The US News rankings guidebook and companion website include over 50 ranking lists. The methodology US News uses benefits private universities, and the rubrics are “based on school reputation surveys; student selectivity; faculty resources; alumni giving; graduation and retention rates; and total spending per student on education.” In contrast public universities “rely heavily on state funding, often have tighter budgets, far larger enrollment and a broader mandate for accessibility than private institutions.”

US News’ Best Colleges list has become more controversial in recent years because of its focus on the cliché Ivy League and elite universities. As the Washington Post pointed out, calling the ranking “an annual sorting exercise that draws scrutiny from students, parents, and alumni but scorn from critics who say it’s a pointless game of prestige.” A day before the 2018 edition’s release Politico went further in their investigative article “How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus.” The article’s subtitle is even more politically loaded, saying, “Once ladders of social mobility, universities increasingly reinforce existing wealth, fueling a backlash that helped elect Donald Trump.”

The article argues that the US News rubrics have become ingrained in universities strategic plans that they “create incentives for schools to favor wealthier students over less wealthy applicants.” The top one percent are catering to the top one percent rather than giving an opportunity to the bottom 60 percent. Politico argues that admission decisions and financial priorities are determined by the schools’ ranking aspirations and that is threatening students from middle and low earning families.

Among the criteria most being altered include, “student performance, lower acceptance rates, performing well on surveys, and alumni giving. Despite all the claims of diversity in admissions, the Ivy League is nearly three-quarters filled with the “top quartile of income earners” and only less than five percent from the bottom quartile, with those in the lowest never even going on to complete their bachelor’s degrees if they are started. Private and public schools are continuing the trend just to up their prestige on rankings, primarily US News Best Colleges.

The stereotypical poor and white are the most affected, and as Politico noted fueled the 2016 election that saw Donald Trump rise to the presidency. Walter Benn Michaels, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago told Politico “Elite colleges are part of the apparatus that produces Trumpism and produces working class, white resentment.” While Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation claimed, “It fits perfectly into Trump’s narrative … Basically, if you’re a low-income or working-class white student who works hard and you find out that what matters in admissions is who your daddy is, or what your race is, you’re completely left out.”

Politico’s research concluded US News is the worst of the rankings to continue the descent into economic equality in higher education. US News is one of the oldest and the most prestigious national ranking started in 1983, which the magazine called “the 800-pound gorilla of American higher education.” US News’ methodology factors in university spending on faculty salary and on students, which rises up tuition to the astronomical rates seniors are now facing as they embark on college. Universities are attempting to reap the most rewards by accepting students they know would succeed, the wealthy ones. F. King Alexander, president of Louisiana State University was the harshest in his opinion, saying, “I think U.S. News has done more damage to the higher education marketplace than any single enterprise that’s out there…. I call it ‘the greatest inefficiency ranking in America.’”

The Politico article accuses US News of stifling the increase in college degrees earned and preventing low-income students from acquiring them. Mitchell Stevens, a Stanford University sociologist called the U.S. News “the machinery that organizes and governs this competition.” Stevens called the ranking a peculiar form of governance” in higher education “because schools essentially use them to make sense of who they are relative to each other. And families use them basically as a guide to the higher education marketplace.” The rankings rubrics have become benchmarks for universities and state governments who yearn for a top ranking university in their midst at the public school level.

US News fiercely denies the negative effects their king maker status has on higher education. Robert Morse on the defensive told Politico, “We’re not setting the admissions standards at any schools. Our main mission for our rankings is to provide information for prospective students and their parents, and we’re measuring academic quality. That’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and we believe we’ve been driving transparency in higher education data. Our methodology and the data we’ve chosen for the best colleges rankings is to measure which schools are the top in academic excellence.”

US News also denies their methodology affects universities policies, but administrators contradict that claim. Student selectivity has lead universities to accept students with higher scores on the SAT and ACT exams, where students from wealthier families do better because of access to preparation courses, materials, and tutors. The acceptance rate game also plays against low-income students, as acceptance rates have dropped; schools are becoming more selective as more students apply. Early admission and decisions programs are accepting more of the share of students but less low-income students apply for early decision.

A university financial and faculty resources matter a lot to US News, but also lock out low-income students as universities want to free up funding so they stay away from students that need financial and funding. Instead, to increase their rank, universities are spending more to hire faculty and ensure class sizes fall below the ideal 20 students per professor. Universities and colleges are also paying their faculty more. To acquire the necessary funding schools are increasing tuition and skirting financial needy students. Public universities are feeling the crunch the most and they are the ones raising tuition.

The all-important undergraduate academic reputation has college presidents, high school guidance counselors, college advisors rate universities, and colleges. A majority of high schools especially in low-income areas do not even have a counselor for their school, giving wealthy schools another advantage. Universities are also peddling to students that they know will keep up the alumni-giving rate, this is especially rampant among elite schools. The Ivy League particularly Harvard are preferring legacy admissions, with 40 percent of Harvard’s incoming class having a parent who graduated from the school. To ensure the money flows in low-income students are shut out.

Only two of US News’s metrics graduation and retention rates and graduation rate performance benefit low-income students, however, to ensure rates remain high schools turn to wealthier students who will graduate. Graduation rate performance is the most beneficial to low-income students because it “recognizes schools that are working to help the most disadvantaged students.” Morse argues the ranking’s rubrics are not creating biases but “creating a better academic environment” and “improvements across the board.”

Universities that play the game are rewarded and those who choose instead to help low-income students are punished in the rankings. President Barack Obama decried the rankings culture and attempted to counter US News’ influence by creating a rival ranking, The College Scorecard, which the Trump Administration is continuing. The ranking has its problems and needs to bolter its credibility, now the scorecard does not even threaten US News in the least. US News still dominates and does not care about the counter effects. In the end, despite the controversies that dog US News’ ranking and other rankings for fueling elitism or other reasons, as long as the rankings continue and equate prestige universities and colleges will continue playing the game perpetuating the problems.

Best National Universities

1 Princeton University (NJ) (1)
2 Harvard University (MA) (2)
3 University of Chicago (IL) (4)
3 Yale University (CT) (3)
5 Columbia University (NY) (5)
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (7)
5 Stanford University (CA) (5)
8 University of Pennsylvania (8)
9 Duke University (8)
10 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (11)

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges

1 Williams College (MA) (1)
2 Amherst College (MA) (2)
3 Bowdoin College (ME) (6)
4 Swarthmore College (PA) (4)
3 Wellesley College (MA) (3)
6 Middlebury College (4)
6 Pomona College (7)
8 Carleton College (7)
8 Claremont McKenna College (9)
10 Davidson College (9)
10 Washington and Lee University (11)

Top Public Schools

National Universities

1 University of California-Berkeley (1)
1 University of California-Los Angeles (2)
3 University of Virginia (3)
4 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (4)
5 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (4)

Liberal Arts Colleges

1 United States Military Academy (NY) (2)
2 United States Naval Academy (MD) (1)
3 United States Air Force Academy (CO) (3)
4 Virginia Military Institute (4)
5 St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.