Ranking Colleges

After heavy lobbying from
some of the nation’s most elite institutions of higher education, the President
has just abandoned his effort to rank the nation’s 7,000 colleges and universities.

So, with college
application season almost upon us, where should aspiring college students and their
parents look for advice?

In my view, not U.S. News and World Report’s annual
college guide (out last week).  

It’s analogous to a restaurant
guide that gives top ratings to the most expensive establishments that are backed
and frequented by the wealthiest gourmands – and much lower rankings to
restaurants with the best food at lower prices that attract the widest range of

Without fail, U. S. News puts at the top of its list
America’s most exclusive and expensive private universities that admit low
numbers and small percentages of students from poor families.

These elite institutions also
train a disproportionately large share of the nation’s investment bankers,
corporate chieftains, corporate lawyers, and management consultants. 

Around 70
of Harvard’s senior class routinely submits resumes to Wall Street and
corporate consulting firms, for example. Close to 36 percent of
Princeton’s 2010 graduating class went into finance, down from 46 percent
before the financial crisis. 

And so it goes, through the Ivy League and other elite private institutions. 

Meanwhile, U.S. News relegates to lower rankings
public universities that admit most of the young Americans from poor families who
attend college, and which graduate far larger percentages of teachers, social
workers, legal aide attorneys, community organizers, and public servants than do the private elite colleges.

US New claims
its rankings are neutral. Baloney.

They’re based on such “neutral”
criteria as how selective a college is in its admissions, how much its alumni
donate, how much money and other resources its faculty receive, and how much it spends per student.

Colleges especially favored
by America’s wealthy

Originally appeared at: http://robertreich.org/post/129034050685