US College Rankings: Where Is Hillsdale?

 

Once a year, The Wall Street Journal publishes an extended report ranking US Colleges, and this that newspaper did this morning, ranking some 500 institutions. Missing from the list, however — this year, last year, and every other year in which WSJ has printed its report — is Hillsdale College.

The reason is simple. Hillsdale does not take federal money because that money comes with strings attached. Schools that do take that money are highly regulated by the federal government, and we value our independence. The Wall Street Journal and its partner in producing the report they publish annually, the Times Higher Education Supplement, do not bother to do much reporting. They get their data from the US Department of Education, which collects the pertinent information from the schools that receive federal funds, and they do not go to the trouble of securing comparable data from the handful of schools that do not take federal money. And thought this omission has been drawn to the attention of the editors of The Wall Street Journal, they have neither corrected their error nor included in their report an acknowledgement that their rankings are for this reason incomplete.

I cannot myself tell you where we would rank because I do not know how these folks produce their conclusions. But I can say that the average ACT score for the freshman who arrived a couple of weeks ago was 30.16, which puts them in the 95th percentile. I can also tell you that our retention rate is exceptionally high and that, in an environment in which 11.2 million young (and old) women and only 8.7 million young (and old) men attend college, our freshman class is 55 percent male. I can add that the average high-school GPA of our entering freshman is 3.89. This data puts us well ahead of Michigan State University, a slight bit ahead of the University of Wisconsin, and close to being equal to the University of Michigan.

In recent years, we have had three graduates clerk for the US Supreme Court and three play as starters in the National Football League.

Are we competitive with Harvard and Yale? Not yet, but we do steal the occasional applicant away from them, and every time that they raise their tuition or mistreat a young man foolish enough to matriculate there we gain ground.

So, I say to the Presidents of Yale and Harvard, “Keep up the good work!” And to the editors of The Wall Street Journal, I must add, “Why don’t you do the requisite work?”

Published in Education
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There are 24 comments.

  1. Member

    Paul A. Rahe: And to the editors of The Wall Street Journal, I must add, “Why don’t you do the requisite work?”

    Work is a strange concept in the world of journalism.

    • #1
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    • 7 likes
  2. Member

    How about submitting a brief version of this as a letter to the WSJ?

    • #2
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    • 8 likes
  3. Member

    I find is sad that such exceptional institutions as Hillsdale and Grove City have not inspired others to follow their lead.

    • #3
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm
    • 6 likes
  4. Thatcher

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: And to the editors of The Wall Street Journal, I must add, “Why don’t you do the requisite work?”

    Work is a strange concept in the world of journalism.

    Contraindicated, even. You might trip over the truth on your way to the Story.

    • #4
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Member

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    • #5
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm
    • 13 likes
  6. Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story? 

    • #6
    • September 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm
    • Like
  7. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If you’re trying to recruit students, it’s extremely important. You may not find those rankings to be important, but many people do.

    • #7
    • September 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm
    • 5 likes
  8. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If and only if the ranking of other universities with regard to one another is an important story!

    • #8
    • September 6, 2018 at 1:39 pm
    • 5 likes
  9. Member

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If and only if the ranking of other universities with regard to one another is an important story!

    Well is it?

    I’ve seen how three Universities operate up close and personal: University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, The University of Newcastle, and The University of Chicago. Frankly with respect to Biology my field of study I think either instituion will give you a good education in the field with respect to a Bachelor’s Degree. I know UC and UIUC are probably separated by a decent number of places in the rankings. But while you can make a distinction it doesn’t mean that distinction is actually significant. I figure if the schools has at least one Nobel Prizer winner in its history it can’t be that bad, so just go to the one that is cheapest and closest to your family so you can easily visit them. 

     

    • #9
    • September 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Coolidge

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Well is it?

    Different horses for different courses.

    • #10
    • September 6, 2018 at 2:39 pm
    • Like
  11. Thatcher

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If and only if the ranking of other universities with regard to one another is an important story!

    Well is it?

    I’ve seen how three Universities operate up close and personal: University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, The University of Newcastle, and The University of Chicago. Frankly with respect to Biology my field of study I think either instituion will give you a good education in the field with respect to a Bachelor’s Degree. I know UC and UIUC are probably separated by a decent number of places in the rankings. But while you can make a distinction it doesn’t mean that distinction is actually significant. I figure if the schools has at least one Nobel Prizer winner in its history it can’t be that bad, so just go to the one that is cheapest and closest to your family so you can easily visit them.

     

    Illinois used to be pretty high anyway.

    • #11
    • September 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm
    • Like
  12. Coolidge

    Cannot find Liberty University in their ranking either. If the university’s website is to be believed and it actually is “Virginia’s largest university,” that would seem like a significant oversight.

    • #12
    • September 6, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    • Like
  13. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    Compared to the latest non-news regarding Russia-Trump, it’s not important at all.

    • #13
    • September 6, 2018 at 3:26 pm
    • Like
  14. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If and only if the ranking of other universities with regard to one another is an important story!

    Well is it?

    I’ve seen how three Universities operate up close and personal: University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, The University of Newcastle, and The University of Chicago. Frankly with respect to Biology my field of study I think either instituion will give you a good education in the field with respect to a Bachelor’s Degree. I know UC and UIUC are probably separated by a decent number of places in the rankings. But while you can make a distinction it doesn’t mean that distinction is actually significant. I figure if the schools has at least one Nobel Prizer winner in its history it can’t be that bad, so just go to the one that is cheapest and closest to your family so you can easily visit them.

    So what we should really be doing is advising the newspapers to dispense with those rankings.

     

    • #14
    • September 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm
    • Like
  15. Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    So what we should really be doing is advising the newspapers to dispense with those rankings.

    We can start by tweeting the ratings articles as #FakeNews.

    • #15
    • September 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm
    • Like
  16. Member

    Real Universities take Gummint Money.

    • #16
    • September 6, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    • Like
  17. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    The task of journalism is to conceal facts that might create a bad impression of progressives. Or as Iowahawk said so brilliantly, it is to cover all the important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.

    But is Hillsdale’s ranking with respect to other Universities an important story?

    If and only if the ranking of other universities with regard to one another is an important story!

    Well is it?

    I’ve seen how three Universities operate up close and personal: University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, The University of Newcastle, and The University of Chicago. Frankly with respect to Biology my field of study I think either instituion will give you a good education in the field with respect to a Bachelor’s Degree. I know UC and UIUC are probably separated by a decent number of places in the rankings. But while you can make a distinction it doesn’t mean that distinction is actually significant. I figure if the schools has at least one Nobel Prizer winner in its history it can’t be that bad, so just go to the one that is cheapest and closest to your family so you can easily visit them.

    So far at least, the sciences are relatively free of the madness that would cause one to draw sharp distinctions between places in the humanities and social sciences.

     

    • #17
    • September 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    • Like
  18. Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe Post author

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Cannot find Liberty University in their ranking either. If the university’s website is to be believed and it actually is “Virginia’s largest university,” that would seem like a significant oversight.

    My bet is that they do not take federal money.

    • #18
    • September 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm
    • 1 like
  19. Coolidge

    Paul A. Rahe (View Comment):

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Cannot find Liberty University in their ranking either. If the university’s website is to be believed and it actually is “Virginia’s largest university,” that would seem like a significant oversight.

    My bet is that they do not take federal money.

    Then this is fake news. My understanding is that folks out there in the real world are quite happy to hire Liberty grads.

    • #19
    • September 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm
    • Like
  20. Member

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I find is sad that such exceptional institutions as Hillsdale and Grove City have not inspired others to follow their lead.

    Inspiration is one thing. Cash is another. There is probably a limited supply of students who are in a position to go at finances the Hillsdale way. Hillsdale tries to help with its own student loan programs, but it’s a hurdle. Also, the attractiveness of Hillsdale depends in part on the people you hang with. 

    • #20
    • September 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm
    • Like
  21. Member

    Does Hillsdale do Science? I assume you teach it, but does anyone do any research there?

    • #21
    • September 7, 2018 at 4:44 am
    • Like
  22. Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I find is sad that such exceptional institutions as Hillsdale and Grove City have not inspired others to follow their lead.

    Inspiration is one thing. Cash is another. There is probably a limited supply of students who are in a position to go at finances the Hillsdale way. Hillsdale tries to help with its own student loan programs, but it’s a hurdle. Also, the attractiveness of Hillsdale depends in part on the people you hang with.

    Yeah, I think you are right. It seems extremely difficult. A funny thing happens when you take away Fed money, many folks are forced from the market for getting degrees. The other funny thing that happens is that many of those folks forced out are folks that go elsewhere and get Woke Studies degrees on the Government’s dime. Oh wait. That’s actually not very funny at all.

    • #22
    • September 7, 2018 at 6:17 am
    • 2 likes
  23. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Paul A. Rahe: And to the editors of The Wall Street Journal, I must add, “Why don’t you do the requisite work?”

    Work is a strange concept in the world of journalism.

    Contraindicated, even. You might trip over the truth on your way to the Story.

    Which can shatter your preconceptions. Hard to come back from that.

    • #23
    • September 7, 2018 at 11:47 am
    • 1 like
  24. Coolidge

    Apologies if I’m stating the obvious here, but shouldn’t Hillsdale always expect to be treated unfairly in any list derived from any work done by the Dept of Education?

    When Paul mentioned that the Dept of Education data collection didn’t bother to include schools who refuse their funding, I was surprised by the phrase “didn’t bother” as it seems to imply a lack of effort/rigor being the reason for exclusion, as opposed to institutional resentment from those at the Dept of Education overseeing this work (assuming Betsy DeVos is too senior to be involved herself).

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m assuming the general opinion of most people working in the US Dept of Education is not favorable towards schools like Hillsdale (likely one of many topics they’d disagree on with their boss Betsy DeVos).

    Even if a Dept of Ed employee involved with this reporting were to suggest that the Dept of Ed includes schools who refuse their funding, I have to imagine this suggestion is very unlikely to be implemented, let alone suggested.

    I’m no expert, just an outside observer who thinks the current state of education is at the heart of many of this country’s problems.

    • #24
    • September 9, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    • 1 like