Friday, August 17, 2007

College rankings

Today’s issue of the U.S.News and World Report ranked U.S. colleges, and Princeton came out on top for the eighth straight year.

I thought it might be interesting to compare the college rankings with rankings of endowment size. It’s like what they do in baseball to answer the question, do the teams with the largest payrolls win more?

Based on numbers from the US Department of Education, six of the best colleges also had the largest endowments and they’re the usual suspects: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, and Columbia.

Four schools with the largest endowments didn’t make the top ten best school list: University of Texas, University of California, Texas A and M, and University of Michigan. In fact, Texas A and M finished a dismal 62nd in the U.S.News and World Report rankings.

Three schools: California Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, and Duke, were all ranked in the top 10 best schools but didn’t have the largest endowments. Now there’s like an opportunity for fund raisers.

Of course whenever there’s a survey there’s controversy. It seems that some colleges don’t approve of U.S.News and World Report’s reliance on reputation as a contributing factor to the rankings. They say it’s too nebulous and not sufficiently quantitative.

Gee, I wonder where those colleges ranked.

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