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Colorado College withdraws from annual ranking of best colleges by U.S. News & World Report

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado College, the highly-regarded liberal arts college just north of downtown, announced this week that it has pulled out of participating in U.S. News & World Report's yearly list of best colleges and universities.

Colorado College

CC explained its decision in a release issued Tuesday; the college was tied for 27th in last year's ranking and has consistently been in the mid-20s since 2018.

CC's president, L. Song Richardson, described the ranking methodology as "deeply flawed."

U.S. News & World Report

"It's because of the way it measures colleges," she explained in a video statement on CC's website. "U.S. News continues to equate academic excellence and quality with high school rank and standardized test scores. We don't believe in that. We believe that our students are more than their entry metrics, and it's why we went test-optional in 2019."

Colorado College

Richardson said that a "beauty contest questionnaire" is another reason why the rankings are outdated and don't fit with CC's values.

"It's where other schools rank us based on who they think we are, even if that's not accurate," she said. "We also don't believe in U.S. News' metric where they measure the number of students who take out loans and the amount of those loans. While that might sound good, it creates incentives to enroll wealthy students who don't have to take out any loans at all."

U.S. News & World Report

Moving forward, Richardson said, CC faculty and staff will focus on what matters most to them.

Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News & World Report, released the following response Tuesday:

U.S. News & World Report

"Our mission is to help prospective students make the best decisions for their educational future. Where students attend school and how they use their education are among the most critical decisions of their life, and with admissions more competitive and less transparent, and tuition increasingly expensive, we believe students deserve access to all the data and information necessary to make the right decision.

“We know that comparing diverse academic institutions across a common data set is challenging, and that is why we have consistently stated that the rankings should be one component in a prospective student’s decision-making process. The fact is, millions of prospective students annually visit U.S. News education rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process."

Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News & World Report

Emily Chan, CC's dean of faculty, said that the the decision doesn't mean the college will disappear from the annual list.

"We'll still be there," she explained. "We just won't provide specific data, and they can use data that's publicly available. We know potentially that we’ll be penalized in the ranking by not providing some internal data, but we think it’s the right thing. No, it’s not fair but we feel it is more important to be driven by our values and what we choose to do.”


Chan said that more than 80% of students, parents and faculty responding to a campus survey agreed with the decision -- adding that the list had little or no influence in learning about CC or affecting students' decision to enroll there.

"We're always open to talking with U.S. News about better ways to evaluate colleges and give families better information in making a college decision," she said.


CC is believed to be the first liberal arts college among more than 200 ranked annually, to opt out of the list.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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