Times Higher Edu­cation World Uni­versity Rankings omits Hillsdale College from con­sid­er­ation because of lack of federal funding. | Courtesy


Harvard Uni­versity topped the second annual U.S. col­leges rankings pub­lished in The Wall Street Journal from Times Higher Edu­cation, but the “con­ser­v­ative Harvard” was once again excluded.

The Journal pub­lished on Sept. 27 a 10-page section with a list of private and public col­leges and uni­ver­sities ranked by THE, a London-based orga­ni­zation that ana­lyzes higher edu­cation data, based on college resources, aca­demic engagement, graduate out­comes, and campus diversity. THE did not include Hillsdale College because it does not receive federal funds, according to a THE rep­re­sen­tative from the U.S. rankings team.

The THE rep­re­sen­tative did not return request from addi­tional expla­nation.

“Being a Title IV recipient seems irrel­evant to the question of an institution’s edu­ca­tional quality,” Provost David Whalen said in an email. “If any­thing, it works against quality.”

In an article explaining the purpose of the rankings, WSJ editor Dave Pettit said the list’s cri­teria is based upon “schools that offer excel­lence, foster intel­lectual devel­opment, provide engaging teaching and leave grad­u­ation on a firm financial footing.”

THE used data on col­leges from the U.S. Edu­cation Department’s College Scorecard, Inte­grated Post­sec­ondary Edu­cation Data System, and Federal Student Aid center. Although IPEDS added Hillsdale to its database in 2015 when it agreed to accept infor­mation the college vol­un­tarily sub­mitted to the system, Hillsdale remains absent from the FSA center and the College Scorecard, a searchable platform with infor­mation on American col­leges and uni­ver­sities, because Hillsdale does not receive federal money.

A THE rep­re­sen­tative pre­vi­ously told The Col­legian it uses these resources because they are the only pub­licly available data­bases with infor­mation such as grad­uates’ earnings and debt repayment. Salaries earned after college account for 12 percent and former stu­dents’ ability to repay loans account for 7 percent of a school’s total score.

“Title IV has become so much a part of the back­ground that orga­ni­za­tions tend to take it for granted,” Whalen said. “This is another example of the insidious way an erst­while private activity effec­tively becomes a gov­ernment oper­ation.”

Even without federal loan repayment, Hillsdale still lacks data THE included in the rankings, including grad­uates’ salaries and student and faculty racial infor­mation. These make it dif­ficult for the college to determine where Hillsdale would fall in the list, Director of Insti­tu­tional Research George Allen said.

Although the Journal and THE did not rank Hillsdale, the school has con­sis­tently placed among the top liberal arts col­leges in the country in other post­sec­ondary edu­cation rankings.

Col­leges rankings and data­bases provide the oppor­tunity for prospective stu­dents and their parents to get an intro­duction to Hillsdale, so the college is working to have Hillsdale included in the College Scorecard, Whalen said.

“The college has com­mu­ni­cated with the Department of Edu­cation about several matters, including the Scorecard,” he said. “It is too early to say how these com­mu­ni­ca­tions will turn out.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: | twitter: @RightandNoble
  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    A poten­tially good article that imme­di­ately jumped the shark in the first para­graph

    “Con­ser­v­ative Harvard”?? Really.… let’s look at that statement,

    Harvard’s accep­tance rate is 5.4%, a truly highly selective uni­versity. Hillsdale’s is somewhat selective, at 45% but orders of mag­nitude dif­ference.

    Harvard’s average ACT score is 34, Hillsdale is 29

    The Harvard student body com­prises about 3% of Boston’s pop­u­lation and the campus is 210 acres. Hillsdale’s student body fully 25% of the pop­u­lation of Hillsdale and the campus size is 400 acres. Yet Harvard makes pilot pay­ments in recog­nition of city ser­vices they use. Hillsdale College refuses to.

    And then there is Harvard’s Martin-Quinn score of liberal-con­ser­v­ative bias of it’s Supreme Court clerks, fully 432 since 1937, the largest of any law school. And guess what, it leans slightly Con­ser­v­ative.

    So what makes Hillsdale a “Con­ser­v­ative Harvard” than? It’s not the admission policies. It’s not aca­demic rigor. It’s not being a deadbeat and not sup­porting your local com­munity. And it’s not any liberal leanings.

    So that leaves “Not accepting Federal funds” than? Well in that case, I suggest you review Grove CIty College V. Bell than, which the col­leges decision to not accept federal funds was based on the desire not to to report racial sta­tistics. I do not find that either a con­ser­v­ative or liberal position.

    So than, explain why Hillsdale College is the “Con­ser­v­ative Harvard”?

  • Camus53

    “…the “con­ser­v­ative Harvard” was once again excluded.”

    Brena…I am a bit sur­prised. Dis­ap­pointed even. The music died a long time ago at Hillsdale. Music…the beau­tiful sound that arises from so many dif­ferent instru­ments. Hillsdale was once known for and valued for its liberal arts edu­cation and campus envi­ronment. Today, alas, the school is rel­ished to the likes of being adver­tised on the Rush Lim­baugh show. Sad, but true.

    Worse yet, it now cloaks itself as a Christian school…thereby excluding anyone and everyone who chooses not to be labeled “Christian” and what that label has been bas­tardized to stand for these past years. But oh…there will be a gleaming chapel to the false gods of power and money sitting smack in the middle of campus lest anyone be con­fused as to whom Hillsdale really bows down.

    So while I appre­ciate the passion and emotion with which you defend the school…put those feelings into a broader his­torical timeline and under­stand not how high the school may rank in the narrow so called “con­ser­v­ative” minds of some…but how far it has fallen in the minds of most.