I heard back from U.S. News & World Report on the error I reported to them. (See Part 1 here.) “U.S. News Webmaster ” wrote:
Thank you for contacting U.S. News. We are relaying data supplied by the university. If you have concerns with the data, you should contact Columbia’s office of institutional research. Regards,
OK. I’ll check with Columbia’s institutional research office.
But I believe that U.S. News ought to investigate and fix the error. It is certainly an error. On the Columbia University web page, there is a list of annual enrollments. The figures for 2012 and 2013 undergraduate enrollment are even higher than the ones reported by the U.S. Department of Education: 8,274 and 8,365 respectively.
There is simply no basis for the 6,084 enrollment figure stated by U.S. News or the resulting claim that 30% of Columbia undergraduates are Pell Grant recipients.
Well, you see how it is. I can’t help thinking that if this issue had involved a category of diversity other than socioeconomic, the error would have been discovered by now by someone whose actual job is to write about education. And U.S. News & World Report would have made a correction.
This is turning into a mini-series. Stay tuned and see what I find out.
Update: Ultimately, I decided not to bother asking Columbia officials about this. The links I cited from the federal government and the Columbia web site prove that U.S. News is wrong about that university’s enrollment and its percentage of Pell recipients. There can’t be any doubt about that, and I have more pressing subjects to address.