The Great Coastal Carolina Debate

A quick comment on some mistakes in that newspaper editorial

By SHARE

Let's set the record straight about Coastal Carolina University and its placement in the U.S. News America's Best Colleges rankings. In an editorial titled "Justice for Coastal" that was published on April 27, the writer made some incorrect statements:

1. The editorial says that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching "supplies the qualitative data on which U.S. News relies to generate its annual ratings guide for U.S. colleges and universities." This is not the case. U.S. News does use Carnegie's "Basic Classification" standards to determine in which U.S. News category a school is placed for the best-colleges rankings. But all of the actual data used to calculate a school's rank are gathered independently by U.S. News, not supplied to us by the Carnegie Foundation.

2. The statement "For several years, U.S. News, relying upon Carnegie data, erroneously has placed Coastal in its Baccalaureate Colleges—Arts & Sciences category in its annual college ratings guide" is also inaccurate. Again, we don't use "Carnegie data." Furthermore, we don't have a category named as such. We do have a category called "Liberal Arts Colleges," and Coastal Carolina has been properly placed in that category for the past seven years. The editorial also says that U.S. News has a category named "Universities—Masters—Small." That category is in fact "Universities—Masters (South)".

We have talked with administrators from Coastal Carolina and have told them that if the Carnegie Foundation changes Coastal's category designation, then so will U.S. News . This is our policy, and we've had to deliver the same message to other colleges. We're not in a position to weigh in on the merits of Coastal Carolina's appeal to Carnegie. We do know that Carnegie does change a small number of schools' categories each year as circumstances merit, and we wish Coastal Carolina the best in its efforts.