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The Impact of US News and World Report College Rankings on Admission Outcomes and Pricing Decisions at Selective Private Institutions

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  • James Monks
  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Abstract

Despite the widespread popularity of the U.S. News & World Report College rankings there has been no empirical analysis of the impact of these rankings on applications, admissions, and enrollment decisions, as well as on institutions' pricing policies. Our analyses indicate that a less favorable rank leads an institution to accept a greater percentage of its applicants, a smaller percentage of its admitted applicants matriculate, and the resulting entering class is of lower quality, as measured by its average SAT scores. While tuition levels are not responsive to less favorable rankings, institutions offer less visible price discounts in the form of slightly lower levels of expected self-help (loans and employment opportunities) and significantly more generous levels of grant aid. These decreases in net tuition are an attempt to attract additional students from their declining applicant pool.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7227.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Publication status: published as "U.S. News and World Report's College Rankings: Why Do They Matter," Change , Vol. 31, no. 6 (November/December 1999): 42-51.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7227

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Cited by:
  1. Kato, Takao & Sparber, Chad, 2010. "Quotas and Quality: The Effect of H-1B Visa Restrictions on the Pool of Prospective Undergraduate Students from Abroad," IZA Discussion Papers 4951, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christopher N. Avery & Mark E. Glickman & Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Metrick, 2013. "A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 425-467.
  3. Tan, Clifford, 2013. "The contribution of university rankings to country's GDP per capita," MPRA Paper 53900, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Andrade, Eduardo de Carvalho & Moita, Rodrigo Menon Simões & Silva, Carlos Eduardo Lobo, 2011. "Permanent Excess Demand as Business Strategy: An Analysis of the Brazilian Higher-Education Market," Insper Working Papers wpe_245, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  5. Siegfried, John & Getz, Malcolm, 2006. "Where do the children of professors attend college?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 201-210, April.
  6. Tan Kuan Lu, Clifford, 2014. "University Rankings Game and its relation to GDP per capita and GDP growth," MPRA Paper 53933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ginger Zhe Jin & Alex Whalley, 2007. "The Power of Attention: Do Rankings Affect the Financial Resources of Public Colleges?," NBER Working Papers 12941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Andrade, Eduardo de C. & Moita, Rodrigo M., 2009. "Peer Effect and Competition in Higher Education," Insper Working Papers wpe_185, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  9. Horstschräer, Julia, 2011. "University rankings in action? The importance of rankings and an excellence competition for university choice of high-ability students?," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-061, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Brian Jacob & Brian McCall & Kevin M. Stange, 2013. "College as Country Club: Do Colleges Cater to Students’ Preferences for Consumption?," NBER Working Papers 18745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Andrade, Eduardo & Moita, Rodrigo & Silva, Carlos, 2013. "Common factors and the exchange rate: results from the Brazilian case," Insper Working Papers wpe_317, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  12. Brint, Steven, 2006. "Can Public Research Universities Compete?," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt7pb373fw, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  13. Andrade, Eduardo de Carvalho, 2009. "Rankings em educação: tipos, problemas, informações e mudanças," Insper Working Papers wpe_198, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  14. Fang Yang & John Bailey Jones, . "Skill-Biased Technical Change and the Cost of Higher Education," Departmental Working Papers 2014-09, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.

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