Tulane business school also ‘unranked’ by U.S. News after inflating data

Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business lost its No. 43 spot in the U.S. News & World Report MBA program rankings. The school announced in December that an employee had falsified admissions data. Photo used under the Creative Commons license.

Tulane University’s business school was kicked off a coveted U.S. News & World Report ranking Thursday, about a month after the school announced it had inflated admissions data.

The Freeman School of Business is the second school to be removed from one of the publication’s rankings in the last three months for skewing statistics. GW was booted from the best colleges rankings in November after the University disclosed that its freshmen class rank data had been wrong for at least a decade.

Tulane’s business school, which had been ranked No. 43, vastly underreported its acceptance rate for the last four years. In fall 2011, the school said it admitted 57 percent, but an outside audit revealed the correct figure was 93 percent.

Over the same period, the school also misreported scores for the GMAT, the admissions test for MBA programs. Its average GMAT score for 2011 was actually 631, instead of the 670 it had reported to U.S. News. (GW’s No. 57 business school has an average GMAT score of 637.) A school’s GMAT score is weighted about 16 percent, while its acceptance rate counts for just over 1 percent under the U.S. News methodology.

The magazine’s Director of Data Research Robert Morse wrote in a blog post Thursday that the school was removed because its correct data would have changed the school’s ranking. Earlier in 2012, Emory University and Claremont McKenna College admitted to manipulating admissions data, but maintained their slots because the new data would not have altered the schools’ positions.

Tulane came clean on the data misreporting in December, admitting that an employee intentionally skewed admissions data to boost the school’s ranking. Dean Ira Solomon said the employee responsible is no longer at the school.

The school also told U.S. News that it would release a public report from an outside auditing firm this month. GW officials have declined to release a report from its auditing firm, saying the report was only given to administrators orally.

GW officials have maintained that its inaccurate data, which stemmed from a faulty formula used to calculate the number of high school seniors who graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes, was done without malice.

The business school will be reconsidered for the ranking this spring, when U.S. News & World publishes its 2014 edition of graduate school rankings, Morse wrote.

– Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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