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