U.S. News Weighs In on Marketing Firm Survey

A new inquiry is confusing some participants of U.S. News's Best Colleges peer assessment survey.

Hand filling out a survey
Hand filling out a survey

For college presidents and other participants in the peer assessment survey used as part of U.S. News's upcoming Best Colleges rankings, U.S. News wants to clarify any confusion stemming from a new survey.

AIM, a marketing research services network, is conducting a new survey that has absolutely nothing to do with U.S. News. AIM-Chicago, the corporate name at the bottom of the introduction to the survey, says, "Our firm is conducting a study among 2012 U.S. News and World Report Survey participants to better understand the criteria used to assign Peer Assessment ratings."

U.S. News wants to make it clear that the new AIM survey is not from U.S. News. U.S. News has never conducted such a survey that asks our peer assessment survey respondents why they rate certain schools the way they do.

In addition, U.S. News has not played any part in developing the AIM survey and was only informed about it by some of the schools who received invitations to participate. U.S. News understands there was a previous survey done a few years ago, also by AIM, and like this time, U.S. News didn't play any part in that earlier survey. U.S. News never saw the results of the prior survey.

The latest AIM survey has caused confusion among schools who wanted to make sure U.S. News was not involved in the 2012 AIM survey and questioned whether U.S. News was going to use the information as part of the Best Colleges rankings methodology. U.S. News wants to make it clear that this new survey is not authorized by U.S. News and the results will not be incorporated into anything that U.S. News does. Since U.S. News has no connection to the 2012 AIM survey, U.S. News does not know how the information from the survey will be used.

U.S. News believes these efforts to indirectly or directly impact the annual peer assessment score through mailings to survey respondents that attempt to improve a school's visibility among respondents don't have any measurable impact on the year-to-year peer assessment rankings.