Top Schools Are Still Safe

Top Schools Are Still Safe

As More Top Law Schools Boycott Rankings, Others Say They Can’t Afford to Leave

The latest edition of the U.S. News & World Report school ranking — which also recently ranked Harvard University No. 1 — has seen its top schools lose points in the past year and a half.

And while the number of institutions holding a 2,000 or higher rank has remained steady, the drop-off in the number of schools from 4,000 to 2,000 has been more significant. The University of Pennsylvania has fallen from 4,064 to 3,837 since 2016. Harvard University’s decline has reached 2,069 to 2,858 since last year.

That means many top schools, including Washington University in St. Louis, University of California Berkeley, Brown University and the University of Texas, remain safe.

However, these institutions still have options.

Some schools are refusing to rank because of “academic and financial hardships,” said Jennifer L. Conant, an assistant professor of political science at St. Louis University.

“When they say they will be closing schools, they are not true,” she said. “They are trying to save money.”

Others have been forced to leave because of declining enrollment or increased tuition.

University of California Berkeley, for example, saw its student body decline nearly 5 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the school’s latest financial statement.

Similarly, Brown University saw enrollment decline 5 percent and the school’s financial statement showed that the school would cost more to run if it was ranked as highly as it is now.

However, those institutions that have left schools are choosing to do it.

“I don’t think anybody leaves a four-year college to go to law school,” said Stephen N. Toth, an associate law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. �

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