Can You Trust U.S. News & World Report’s College Rankings?

How do students get the best value out of their college education? And how effectively do college ranking sites deliver on that need? As the rising cost of college far outpaces wages for American workers, this question of value is more important than it has ever been. The good news is that students have more choices than ever before. The bad news is that navigating these choices can be exceedingly difficult. College ranking leaders generally operate under the premise that their ranking lists make this process easier. But do they really? Are college ranking leaders actually providing the information that students need to make smart decisions? Or are they feeding students into a college industry that profits from reputation over outcomes? Are college rankings the ultimate case of style over substance? We examine these questions and more with a closer look at the ranking sector through the prism of its most widely recognized and influential player—U.S. News and World Report.

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