Buff State scores low in college rankings

Sara Ali, Staff Writer

The U.S. News & World Report released their annual college rankings Sept. 9. SUNY Buffalo State ranked 106 out of 135 for best colleges in the north. For top public schools in the north, Buffalo State tied 33 out of 45 alongside SUNY Institute of Technology-Utica/Rome.

There is much controversy on the Internet as these rankings were released. Many questions about the validity of these rankings have blown up as well, throughout the World Wide Web and even among college students.

“It is based on a set of criteria such as retention rates, number of people in the school – things along those lines, to create some mathematical wizardry to come up with a ranking for the school,” said Micheal Peters, junior and media production student. “I don’t think the ranking is fair to Buffalo State, I don’t think a lot of the criteria they use for the ranking is based on the value of the education you’re getting.”

Peters is not alone in this thought. John Tierney, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, wrote an article a day after the rankings were released entitled “Your Annual Reminder to Ignore the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings.”

Tierney said, “A very substantial chunk (22.5 to 25 percent) of an institution’s ranking comes not from any hard data but from a “reputational” measure, in which U.S. News solicits “peer assessments” from college presidents, provosts, and admissions directors, as well as input from high-school counselors.”

According to Tierney, critics believe that this component of the rankings turns it into a beauty contest.

Buffalo State graduate Nick Stutzman, said that it is a garbage study and is not based off of legitimate criteria.

“Buffalo State is one of the largest SUNY schools, one should make the rankings towards the populous and not six year graduation rate,” Stutzman said.

Senior digital music production minor Nicholas Lippa said that the rankings are very generalized based on statistics that are extremely vague and do not gauge the intimacy of the school environment.

According to an article in the U.S. News & World Report, the rankings rest on two pillars; quantitative measures proposed by education experts as reliable indicators of academic quality and on the research viewed by U.S. News of what matters in education.

The article also said that the schools are categorized by their mission – a factor “derived from the breakdown of types of higher education institutions as refined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010.”

The ranking model indicators include undergraduate academic reputation (22.5 percent), retention (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent) and alumni giving rate (5 percent).

An interview was scheduled with the president of College Relations, but was never conducted. The President’s Office and Academic Affairs did not return requests for comments.

To learn more about these rankings and what they mean, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2014/09/08/how-us-news-calculated-the-2015-best-colleges-rankings?page=4.