Temple University Reaches Settlement On Alleged Fraud Related To U.S. News And World Report Rankings

There is an interesting settlement settlement  this week between the Department of Education and Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management. Temple has long been accused of falsifying information to inflate its ranking on U.S. News and World Report.  The USNWR rankings are now key to admissions for most schools and Temple has been accused of lying to both the magazine and its applicants for years.

The DOE alleged that Temple’s Fox School of Business and Management submitted false information between 2014 and 2018. While the Temple University agreed to pay $700,000 in the settlement, it has not admitted guilt. However, the Department declared:

“The Department believes that, to increase enrollment, grow revenue, and harm competitors, Temple’s Fox School knowingly, intentionally, and substantially misrepresented the nature of certain of its educational program by advertising the false rankings by U.S. News and World Report thousands of times via online portals, social media, fully wrapped buses and newsstands, highway billboard signs, and advertisements at airport terminals, on trains, at train stations, in magazines, in newspapers, and on television and radio.”

The settlement follows another more costly settlement that followed a lawsuit by Kyle Smith who sued after he was admitted in the Fox School of Business Online MBA program. Temple University agreed to pay more than $5 million as part of the settlement for “fraudulent and deceptive business practices.”

Academics often criticize the USNWR rankings. I am not one of those critics. While I often disagree with some of the rankings, they are generally accurate and give applicants information that was simply not available when I applied to college and law school. What I do find objectionable is the annual manipulation of the criteria to force changes in the rankings each year.  The rankings hardly sell without dramatic dips and rises each year. This often seems achieved by sudden changes in criteria or weighing of criteria. Nevertheless, the rankings add a degree of transparency and accountability for universities and colleges.

Temple just saw the accountability aspect expressed in real and costly terms.


19 thoughts on “Temple University Reaches Settlement On Alleged Fraud Related To U.S. News And World Report Rankings”

  1. Are there going to be lawsuits over Trump’s Forbes ratings, which, according to Michael Cohen, were the product of a cooked set of books? Maybe other wealthy people have suffered by being honest, and therefore, received a lower ranking.

  2. I have low confidence in USNWR rankings because none of them directly measure how good the actual education is, and some are based on circular logic.

    Peer assessment score (0.25): Business school deans from other schools would have very little knowledge of the instruction at any other school that is not there own, so their option is really just hearsay and reputation (part of which is influenced on USNWR rankings).

    Recruiter assessment score (0.15): The recruiters do interact with lots of graduates from many schools, but they still only see the polished image that the applicant is presenting. And these recruiters know nothing about the instructional quality or the actual performance of the hires. This one has the highest chance of producing useful info.

    Placement Success (weighted by 0.35): This is almost a dependent on the one above it and can not be considered an independent variable. Of course recruiters that have a higher opinion of a school will hire more from that school.

    Student Selectivity (weighted by 0.25): This is very much dependent on the USNWR rankings and says nothing about the quality of the education after the students are admitted. Better students does lead to a better learning environment, so there is a bit here, but not that much.

    In Summary: USNWR rankings say a lot about the reputation of a school and very little about the education experience. I am sure we all know of at least a few programs or departments that are not good, but are in in schools with high rankings. We also all probably know of great programs and schools that are not ranked at all.

    Details can be found here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/business-schools-methodology

  3. Do the rankings include diversity of opinion relating to the professors? Do they include requiring all students to attend indoctrination courses about white racism and how all blacks are victims? If neither item is ranked, the rankings are meaningless if one is attending school to learn how to actually reason and to think for oneself.

    1. No, the rankings do not take into account any aspect of the actual educational experience.

  4. You have to be a smart shopper in the realm of higher education. Consulting US News can be helpful, but only on the margins.

    One thing I’d like to see develop (and maybe it’s something accounting firms, banks, and insurance agencies could do) would be the emergence of consultancies who could look at what your target schools are charging, look at the financing options, and produce for you a projection of what you’re monthly charges are going to be down the road to pay off the incurred debts from obtaining such a degree. Then have a look at the compensation scales of your target career and project what share of your cash income is going to go to debt service if you make your career goal. Are there CFPs who do this sort of work?

    1. Your peers give you an idea of what you should be doing with your time as you wade into adulthood, but they can mislead you as well. The important information regulating higher-education choices is your family’s current and your future exchequer and your understanding of what you can tolerate to earn a living.

    2. Don’t try to attend a four year institution if you’re not college material. As we speak, 55% of each cohort do not obtain a baccalaureate degree. Don’t waste your time and future income attempting it unless you can go the distance and can get skills or a job market signal from it that you cannot get from a community college, technical college, apprenticeship, &c.

    3. Decide what you’d like to do and then decide what you’d like to study on your way to gaining your vocational training. Listen to people near you who regard you with critical distance and who understand the world of work.

    4. Look up the schools who teach what you want to learn.

    5. Stay in-state unless you’re terribly constricted in so doing.

    6. Favor the state schools absent a vigorous reason not to do so.

    7. Memo to fathers and mothers: be ready to say ‘that’s a terrible idea; you’re on your own with that one”.

    8. If you’re drinking yourself sh!tfaced every week, you’re doing it wrong.

    9. If you’re not on the lookout for someone to build a life with, you’re doing it wrong.

    10. If you’re sleeping with an intoxicated person or sleeping with someone you’ve not been exploring in nonsexual settings, you’re doing it wrong.

  5. Nevertheless, the rankings add a degree of transparency and accountability for universities and colleges.

    Well, that leaves 359 degrees unaccounted for. These rankings are as reliable as a BBB ranking.

  6. Further evidence that many of our universities – almost all lefty – are both mendacious and stupid.

  7. “What I do find objectionable is the annual manipulation of the criteria to force changes in the rankings each year. The rankings hardly sell without dramatic dips and rises each year.”

    Carney barkers have more ethics and conscience than US News.

    1. And a carney barker is in the white house for another month, so no one talk smack about carney barkers.

      Elvis Bug

      1. When Trump leaves the White House, maybe he’ll open the Trump School of Con Artistry and Scams. He’s an expert, and maybe it will rank as high on the US News rankings as Trump University did.

  8. My father must be rolling in his grave. He went there and loved the school and now this stupidity. I wonder why no prosecutions. I also wonder if there will be new lawsuits due to the deceptions.

    It does show the even schools cheat for higher admissions. Is anyone honest anymore?

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