140219_FlaglerCollege

Flagler College Misrepresents Admissions Data

The regional college in the south inflated test scores and high school class standing data for several years.

140219_FlaglerCollege

U.S. News will re-evaluate Flagler College's ranking after it receives corrected data from the school.

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Flagler College's president has announced that it misreported admissions data for incoming freshmen that were admitted in fall 2010 through fall 2013. So far, the Florida-based school has not disclosed the magnitude of the data misreporting.

According to the school, a preliminary review shows that SAT and ACT scores, high school class standing and high school GPA data that were publicly reported during this time period were inflated compared with the actual data.

In a Feb. 17, 2014, statement on the school's website, President William T. Abare Jr. said that "a senior admissions officer has resigned after taking sole responsibility for misreporting test scores, grade point averages, and class ranks of entering freshman. We have notified appropriate organizations, agencies, and accrediting bodies of the situation and have informed them that we have commissioned an independent investigation. We will disclose the findings once we receive the final report. We are reviewing what happened and are developing policies, procedures, and systems to ensure this does not occur again."

The St. Augustine Record, a Florida newspaper, reported that it spoke to Marc Williar, Flagler's former vice president for enrollment management, who told the paper that he "made a serious misadjustment and inflated the profile" of the incoming 2010 class and that of subsequent years.
 
The school also misreported the same SAT and ACT test score data to the U.S. Department of Education, the school's regional accrediting body and other publishers, such as College Board and Peterson’s. 

SAT and ACT test scores and high school class standing are used in the annual U.S. News Best Colleges rankings and have a weight of 11.25 percent. 

Flagler College has promised U.S. News that as soon as the report is finalized U.S. News will be supplied with corrected data that were used in the Best Colleges rankings. At that point, we can accurately answer the question of what, if any, impact this misreporting had on Flagler College's latest ranking that used data from the 2012 incoming freshman class. In the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, Flagler College ranks eighth among Regional Colleges (South).

After U.S. News receives the correct data, we will estimate its actual impact on Flagler College's ranking and take further steps, if they are warranted.