Harvard, Yale law schools abandon U.S. News & World Report rankings

Harvard, Yale law schools abandon U.S. News & World Report rankings

Law school officials at Harvard and Yale announced Wednesday that they will no longer participate U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best law schools. Yale Law School officials called the methodology behind this influential listing “profoundly flawed.” “

Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken made the announcement in blog ,. Gerken stated that the rankings discourage universities admitting low-income students, and support those who want to pursue careers as public servants. Tuition and housing at Yale Law School — whose alumni include former President Bill Clinton and four of the current Supreme Court justices — run nearly $97,000 per year. Tuition and living expenses for Harvard Law School are more than $107,000 annually. Gerken stated that the rankings process has “undermining the core commitments to the legal profession”. He noted that Yale Law School had been ranked at the top every year since the beginning of the rankings. “We will no longer participate as a result. “

She said, “Its approach is not only failing to advance the legal profession but also stands in the way of progress. “

Harvard Law School Dean John Manning stated that the institution was also dropping out of the rankings in an email he sent Wednesday to Harvard Law School students, which was shared with CBS MoneyWatch. Manning said that it was “impossible to reconcile our principles with the methodology and incentives that the U.S. News rankings reflect.”

He also acknowledged Yale Law School’s announcement earlier in the day. Harvard is ranked No. 4 on U.S News & World Report’s annual list top law schools.

The critiques from two of the nation’s top law schools come amid renewed focus on the U.S. News & World Report and similar college rankings, with critics saying their approaches reinforce income inequality and effectively reduce diversity at elite schools. For instance, one measure in U.S. News & World Report’s methodology for ranking universities is “reputation,” or how college officials appraise rival schools — a quality that critics say has little to do with a college’s ability to educate students.

U.S. News & World Report was also under fire earlier in the year when Columbia University admitted it had submitted incorrect data in previous years that had helped boost its ranking to No. 2. Columbia stated that it would not provide information to U.S. News until it had reviewed its data collection.

Despite Columbia’s decision against submitting data this year, U.S. News went ahead and ranked the university, with the result that the Ivy League school tumbled from No. 2 to No. 18.

Harvard and Yale are unlikely to be affected by dropping from the rankings. This is due to their strong reputations and notable alumni who have reached the tops of political or judicial success. Both universities have deep pockets to aid students from low-income families. Harvard’s endowment stands at about $50 billion and Yale’s at about $41.4 billion, making them the first and third-wealthiest universities in the nation. In a statement emailed directly to CBS MoneyWatch Eric Gertler, U.S. News & World Report Executive Chair stated that the publication’s “Best Law Schools” rankings are for students who want to make the best decision regarding their law education. “

He added. “As part our mission, it is important that we continue to hold law schools accountable for the education they provide to these students. This announcement does not change that mission. “

“The most troubling aspects”

Yale Law School’s Gerken wrote that “one of the most troubling aspects” of the magazine’s rankings is that it discourages law schools from providing support for students who want to pursue public interest careers. She noted that the rankings do not include loan-forgiveness programs in calculating student debt loads.

Harvard’s Manning expressed similar concerns, noting that the rankings “work in opposition to law schools’ commitments enhancing the socioeconomic diversity our classes,” and that their methodology “undermines many law schools’ efforts to support public-interest careers for their graduates.” “

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created in 2007 with the goal of forgiving the student debt of Americans who work in public service jobs, which range from public school teachers to public interest lawyers who work for the government or nonprofits.

Gerken also called out U.S. News’ emphasis on median LSAT/GRE scores and GPAs, which account for 20% of a law school’s overall ranking. Experts have criticised standardized tests, pointing out that students from wealthy families tend to score higher, which is due to their ability to attend expensive tutoring or test prep classes.

” This heavily weighted metric puts tremendous pressure on schools, especially for students who can’t afford expensive test preparation courses, to overlook promising students,” she said.

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