Villanova Law School Certifies Accuracy of New Data

Dean of Villanova Law School verifies accuracy of fall 2010 admissions data.

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Earlier this month, Villanova Law School's new dean John Gotanda sent a letter to the school's alumni and others revealing "inaccuracies in the admissions data reported to the American Bar Association (ABA) by Villanova Law School for years prior to 2010." This same inaccurate admissions data was also reported to U.S. News by the school and was used to compute our law school rankings, but the full extent of the problem, which occurred under Villanova's prior administration, has not been determined or disclosed publicly yet.

The inaccurate data was the median LSAT and undergraduate grade point average for entering classes, both of which are used in the methodology for the U.S. News law school rankings. The LSAT has a weight of 12.5 percent, and the undergraduate grade point average counts for 10 percent.

[LSAT will still be weighted heavily in law school rankings.]

U.S. News has given careful consideration to this issue and has decided we will not change our long-standing policy of not revising previously published rankings.

Data integrity is very important to us, and we rely on schools to behave ethically and provide us with accurate information. In the case of law schools, the data at issue is what was reported to the ABA on the school's annual accreditation questionnaire. U.S. News asks law schools to report the same data as they report to their accrediting body, the ABA, so we assume they are reporting accurately. This was not the case for Villanova.

[U.S. News challenges ABA on law school employment data standards.]

In order to include Villanova in the upcoming graduate school rankings, U.S. News asked Villanova's Gotanda to certify the accuracy of its fall 2010 admissions data in a letter. Here is a copy of that Feb. 10, 2011 letter to U.S. News certifying the accuracy of Villanova's fall 2010 admissions data. U.S. News will rank Villanova in our upcoming rankings and link its name to this letter so that the public has some understanding of what Villanova did and how the school plans to report accurately going forward.

How does the rankings data for the J.D. class entering in 2010 compare to the previous year's? The difference is significant enough between the older and newer data to have a meaningful negative impact on Villanova's upcoming ranking: For the fall 2009 entering class, Villanova reported inaccurately a median LSAT score of 162 and median undergraduate GPA of 3.44. For the fall 2010 entering class, Villanova certifies its median LSAT score was 160 and its median undergraduate GPA was 3.33.

See other coverage of this issue:

-- Above the Law: Villanova Law 'Knowingly Reported' Inaccurate Information to the ABA

-- The Wall Street Journal: Is the SEC the Answer to the 'Villanova Syndrome'?

-- TaxProf Blog: Villanova Goosed its U.S. News Ranking by 'Knowingly' Submitting Inflated LSAT and GPA Data to ABA

-- ABA Journal: Villanova Says Inaccurate LSAT and GPA Data Were 'Knowingly Reported' to the ABA in Prior Years

-- The Chronicle of Higher Education: Villanova U. Reveals Its Law School Gave False Reports of GPA's and Test Scores

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