US News College Rankings Take Another Hit

Deans of Harvard, Yale law schools cite issues with magazine's methodology, will no longer participate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2022 9:50 AM CST
Harvard, Yale Law Schools Pull Out of US News Rankings
A building on the Harvard University campus.   (Getty Images/LUNAMARINA)

Harvard and Yale consistently show up in college ranking top 10 lists, but there's one notable list their law schools won't be cooperating with in the future. The heads of those schools at the two elite universities announced Wednesday they'll no longer be willing participants in the US News & World Report annual rankings, amid longtime complaints about the publication's list. "It has become impossible to reconcile our principles and commitments with the methodology and incentives the US News rankings reflect," John Manning, the dean of Harvard Law School, wrote on the school's website, adding that the magazine's process "does not advance the best ideals of legal education or the profession we serve" and "contradicts the deeply held commitments" of HLS.

Yale Law School's statement by Dean Heather Gerken called the US News rankings "profoundly flawed" and wrote that they "[undermine] the core commitments of the legal profession." Both schools note that the rankings don't take into account their efforts to attract students from low-income communities, offer students aid based on need, and encourage their students to eventually take on jobs that serve the public, even if they don't pay the most. Both schools also complain about the significant emphasis in US News' rankings on students' LSAT and GRE scores, which they say exerts pressure on schools to turn away students with promise who may not have the best test scores, per the Washington Post.

The law schools' move comes just months after Columbia University fell from No. 2 to No. 18 in the magazine's general college and universities rankings, leading to questions on whether the rankings are "easily manipulated." In a statement, Eric Gertler, CEO and executive chair of US News, defends the rankings and insists his group will "continue to fulfill our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information." The publication did acknowledge, however, that "test scores don't tell the full story of an applicant, and law schools make their own decisions on the applicant pool based on the mission of the school," per the New York Times. The paper notes the Ivy Leaguers' withdrawal is "unlikely to topple the rankings industry," as just their law schools withdrew, and as much of the rankings info is available publicly even without their cooperation. (More college rankings stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.