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U.S. News Kicks Off 2015 Best Colleges Rankings Data Collection

Statistical surveys will solicit colleges' admissions criteria, graduation and retention rates, majors and more. 

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Statistical surveys for the 2015 Best Colleges launch have been sent to nearly 1,800 colleges and universities in the U.S. 

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Projects like the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings don't happen overnight. U.S. News works on the college rankings 12 months a year.

The most recent step in the process was the release of the three U.S. News statistical surveys – main, financial aid and finance – on March 27. The statistical data collected will be used for the 2015 edition of our college rankings, which will be published later this year.

These surveys solicit information on such factors as enrollment, faculty, tuition, room and board, SAT and ACT scores, admissions criteria, graduation and retention rates, college majors, school finances, activities, sports and financial aid. This data is used in the Best Colleges rankings that will be published on usnews.com and in the print guidebook that will be available on newsstands.

U.S. News has again included questions that ask for differential graduation rates based on family income level. These rates have been used to produce separate lists and articles, "Measuring Colleges' Success Graduating Low-Income Students" among them.

A notification email from U.S. News with details on how to access our password-protected online surveys was sent to nearly 1,800 U.S. colleges, and a few outside of the U.S. Nearly all regionally accredited, four-year, bachelor's degree-granting U.S. colleges should have received such a notice. If you are from a college that did not receive the data collection survey email, please contact Diane Tolis, U.S. News data collection manager, at dtolis@usnews.com.

U.S. News has also started mailing out the undergraduate academic reputation surveys to colleges, universities and high school counselors nationwide. The results of these peer reputation surveys play an important part in the Best Colleges ranking methodology. The surveys are also used to produce rankings for the top schools for both undergraduate business and engineering.

If you are from a college and have questions about the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings or their methodologies, contact Robert Morse, U.S. News director of data research, at official@usnews.com.

We hold and attend meetings throughout the year with higher education experts in order to listen to their suggestions and criticisms, as well as to understand the latest campus trends. These consultations with college presidents, deans, institutional researchers and high school counselors give us an opportunity to gather feedback on our rankings methodology.

We would like to thank all the colleges that participate in our Best Colleges data collection. We understand that it takes a lot of work to fill out the surveys, and we appreciate the efforts taken to provide us with the most accurate data available.