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

15 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012 Last revised: 2 Oct 2022

See all articles by James Monks

James Monks

Consortium on Financing Higher Education

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

ILR-Cornell University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 1999

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.

Suggested Citation

Monks, James and Ehrenberg, Ronald G., The Impact of Us News and World Report College Rankings on Admission Outcomes and Pricing Decisions at Selective Private Institutions (July 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7227, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=171109

James Monks (Contact Author)

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Ronald G. Ehrenberg

ILR-Cornell University ( email )

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