U.S. News & World Report pulled the University of Houston’s College of Education from the magazine’s 2013 Best Graduate Schools because of the University’s over-reporting of research expenditures in 2011.
According to the magazine, the amount spent on research is a significant component when it comes to ranking a particular program in a college or university. Through this way, a school can offer a wide variety of programs and services to the students. U.S. News and World Report measures financial resources by using the average spending per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures.
Representatives of the college say the error was regretful and unintentional. The person filling out the report provided an accurate number for aggregate expenditures, but the magazine asked for annual expenditures. Both the aggregate and annual data were on the same page.
“It’s simply a case of the person pulling the number from the wrong line. The correct figure should have been $3.5 million for annual research expenditures. The $13.4 million figure is aggregate research expenditures over multiple years,” said Shawn Lindsey, assistant director of media relations.
When the college representatives found out about the error, they immediately reported the mistake.
In order for a University to reach the goal of Tier One status, it has to produce top-notch programs that are nationally ranked.
The amount of money spent on research is what sets Tier One universities apart from other institutions.
U.S. News and World Report is a premier magazine for high school seniors to view when selecting colleges.
The removal of the ranking can have an impact on future students and other institutions that are also ranked.
“If the college was removed from the rankings due to the reporting error, I would hate for it to become a disincentive for other institutions to do the right thing and self-report similar errors.
“We feel bad about the mistake, but are confident the college did the right thing by reporting it,” Lindsey said.
The College of Education has put controls in place to make sure that all self-reported data is double-checked for accuracy before submission.
UH is not the only college that misreported its information, however.
In the same magazine, University of St. Thomas law school in Minneapolis, Minn. was stripped of its ranking when the school misreported graduate employment data.
Instead of recalculating the data, U.S. News and World Report moved the law school to an unranked category, just like it did with the UH College of Education.