Perpetuation Of Privilege by Emilie Schaffer LLC

This data journalism story calls into question the popular U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking system.

The U.S. News rankings are relied upon by millions of applicants and their parents as they decide where to apply to and attend college (Chartier & Peachey, 2014). Using data reported by U.S. News and the government-sponsored Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), this story visually displays the gaps and suspicious trends in the U.S. News Best College rankings, seeking to educate parents and students who believe the rankings measure quality, while providing alternative data sources and ranking systems for considerations.

All ranking systems are inherently biased; they must incorporate judgment about what matters, and what matters most. As users we need to decide whether we agree with those judgment calls, and should consider holding organizations, like U.S. News, accountable for providing transparency behind their data. This story seeks to educate the users of U.S. News’ rankings so they can more easily determine whether they agree with U.S. News’ judgments.