Damakant Jayshi

Ranks of at least five colleges and universities in the state, including two from the University of  Wisconsin system, have changed in an updated U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of educational institutions.

The magazine, known for ranking colleges and universities in several categories, came out with a revised list on Friday, citing a “code anomaly” for its previously announced list in September.

“After publication of the 2024 Best Colleges, an anomaly in the code used to output those rankings was discovered,” noted the story on Friday. As a result of correcting the anomaly, the rankings of 213 schools have changed from what was published on September 18, 2023.”

Northland College in Ashland lost 10 spots, moving from 23rd in the overall list of regional colleges for the Midwest in September to 33 in the updated list. But Edgewood College in Madison is now ranked #296 under the National Universities category. It’s an improvement from its September position of #320.

Two universities in the University of Wisconsin system – UW-Platteville and UW-Green Bay – nearly exchanged their positions. The Platteville campus is now #60 from #67 but the Green Bay university slid to #66 from #60. And in the Top Public Schools category, UW-Platteville climbed up to 14th from its previous spot of 18th and UW-Green Bay is now #18 from its September high of #14.

Another Wisconsin school, Lakeland University in Herman, climbed up four spots to #140 under regional universities for the Midwest.

Rankings challenged by schools, some withdraw

The U.S. News & World Report’s rankings are well known, and millions of students across the country and the world check positions each year for a range of reasons.

But in recent years, their rankings of educational institutions have been challenged, prompting some universities to opt out altogether. The first to withdraw from its assessment were Harvard Law and Yale Law last year.

Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said the rankings are “profoundly flawed” and “they disincentivize programs that support public interest careers, champion need-based aid, and welcome working-class students into the profession.” 

At least four other institutions offering undergraduate studies also withdrew last year, including Columbia University. The other three are Colorado College, the Rhode Island School of Design and Stillman College. School officials who have criticized the rankings – both that still participate and those who have withdrawn – have cited flawed methodologies.